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Shoes cruise for the homeless of Boston

http://www.wcvb.com/chronicle/shoes-for-the-homeless/35188358

Shoes collected for our guests

 RUFUS PERRIMAN REMEMBERS THE DAY HE GOT HIS LAST PAIR OF SHOES. “I WOULD SAY IN MAY. MAY 17. I RECEIVED A PAIR OF SNEAKERS”.

HE REMEMBERS BECAUSE THOSE SNEAKERS AREN’T JUST ANOTHER PAIR OF SHOES. RUFUS IS HOMELESS AND HAS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. HIS SHOES AND CANE ARE HIS MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AS HE MAKES HIS WAY TO ST. FRANCIS HOUSE.

“WHEN I HAD A HOLE IN MY SNEAKERS, AND I CAME HERE IN THE WINTERTIME. I WORE THE SHOES HERE. BECAUSE THAT WAS THE ONLY PAIR I HAD. AND I SHOWED THEM THE HOLES IN MY SHOES AND GAVE ME AN EMERGENCY CLOTHING TICKET. AND I RECEIVED A VERY NICE PAIR OF SHOES. I WAS THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD”.

RUFUS SAYS HIS LIFE CHANGED A FEW YEARS AGO AFTER HE GOT SICK, LOST HIS JOB. AND THEN LOST HIS APARTMENT IN A FIRE. HE NEVER THOUGHT HE WOULD BE IN A POSITION WHERE ONE PAIR, HIS ONLY PAIR OF SHOES WOULD MAKE HIM SO HAPPY.

“IN THE PAST I JUST THROW THEM DOWN. KICK THEM OFF MY FEET AND THROW THEM IN THE CORNER AND LEAVE THEM THERE UNTIL I NEEDED THEM. RIGHT NOW I’M NOT ABLE TO DO THAT BECAUSE I’M HOMELESS. I LEARN TO APPRECIATE. I LEARN TO VALUE THOSE LITTLE THINGS”.

HE GETS HIS SHOES AND CLOTHES FROM ST. FRANCIS HOUSE. A DAY SHELTER SERVING 800 HOMELESS MEN AND WOMEN IN BOSTON EVERY DAY. WE’VE BEEN HERE 30 YEARS. AND WE BEGAN AS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE COULD COME DURING THE DAY. EVENTUALLY BE A CONSTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO BEING OUT ON THE STREETS.

DEMAND IS SO HIGH THAT BY THE END OF EACH SEASON, THE SHELVES ARE NEARLY BARE. WE’RE GIVING 3,000 PAIRS OF SHOES AWAY EVERY YEAR. AND IN SPITE OF THAT VOLUME OF SHOES THAT WE’RE GIVING, WE STILL HAVE TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF SHOES THAT PEOPLE CAN GET TO ONE PAIR OF SHOES EVERY THREE MONTHS.

AND THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO DONATE SHOES TO US IS INCREDIBLE. THE NEED PARTLY MET BY THE SHOES CRUISE, AN ANNUAL FUNDRAISER FEATURING ENTERTAINMENT, SOCIALIZING AND BEAUTIFUL VIEWS OF BOSTON HARBOR. ADMISSION IS $30. AND A NEW PAIR OF SHOES. ALL TO BENEFIT ST. FRANCIS HOUSE. TIM NOLAN STARTED THE EVENT IN 2003. ONE OF THE MAJOR NEEDS WAS MEN’S SHOES, SIZE 9-13. THEY’RE COMING IN TO GET NEW FOOTWEAR. AND THEY HAD ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS WITH THEIR SHOES. WHICH LEADS TO ALL SORTS OF OTHER, YOU KNOW, INFECTIONS AND WHAT NOT. SO AT THAT POINT I SAID, YOU GOT TO BE ABLE TO DO SOMETHING TO RAISE FOOTWEAR AND RAISE AWARENESS AT THE SAME TIME.

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