Care,  Faith,  Poverty

Soles for souls: How a local church is helping the people in need by giving them new shoes

Daybreak is a drop-in center housed by the Dubbs Memorial Community Center located at Fifth and Allen streets in Allentown. The center is open on every weekday for impoverished elderly people, homeless people as well as for those members of the community suffering from mental illness, addictions, HIV and AIDS. Daybreak is supported by the Lehigh Conference Churches and its ministries and helps thousands of people in need with essential services such as: shelter, food as well as health care.

Daybreak is a help center not only for people who are homeless, but also for those who live in isolation due to a mental or physical illness or addiction too. The people who come to the center get the chance to eat three meals a day and shoot pool, watch TV, get counselling, learn some life skills and to socialize. All of the visitors have certain tasks assigned to them.

The visitors all admit that this center is a lifesaver, and is much better place to be instead of on the street or isolated and feeling depressed alone at home.

Every year there is a fundraiser organized by the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown which manages to raise thousands of dollars meant for buying shoes for the people who come to Daybreak.

The people who visit the drop-in-center often do not have enough money to buy new shoes so the fundraiser helps those people in need to purchase new shoes for 40$ each.

The local Boscov shoe department located in the Lehigh Valley Mall is the host for this charitable event, and many of the shoes offered are discounted to fit into the allotted budget for the people from Daybreak.

The new shoe project started a few years ago when one of the church members of First Presbyterian Helen Underwood was volunteering at the Daybreak center and noted that all of the clients of the drop-in center were wearing old, worn and dirty shoes with holes and even taped together with duct tape.

Underwood immediately realized that they needed to help these people most of whom spent most of their time walking on the streets to buy good new shoes. She began the fundraiser through the church and helped raise 3,700 dollars in the first year alone for this charitable cause.

The Boscov shoe department kindly agreed to become a host for this charitable event and give access to discounted shoes to all clients of Daybreak. The spokeswoman of the shoe department said that the store was happy and embraced this event readily since it was in line with the original legacy of the founder Al Boscov whose legacy was to establish a business which is deeply rooted in its community.

The director of the Daybreak center Christina DiPierro has admitted that this specific charitable event stands out from the others because all of the people who receive the help actually get to choose their own shoes which helps them preserve their dignity as they are properly served at the Boscov store and get to wear brand new shoes instead of worn and torn ones.

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