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Happy Feet program gathers donated shoes for Nanaimo’s less fortunate

RCMP and outreach workers collecting gently used running shoes for people experiencing homelessness
Outreach workers Bayley Russell, left, Hannah Jorgenson, Alisa Everitt, RCMP Const. Josh Waltman and outreach worker Jenny Garceau are part of the Happy Feet 9-11 initiative team collecting and distributing donated running shoes to people in Nanaimo who are experiencing homelessness. (Photo submitted)

A new monthly donation drive is collecting footwear for Nanaimo’s less fortunate.

The Happy Feet 9-11 initiative is the brain child of outreach workers and the RCMP.

The program has been set up to give donated running shoes to people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo on the last Friday of each month.

According to an RCMP press release, community outreach support workers, who work alongside Const. Josh Waltman, Nanaimo RCMP’s mental health liaison officer, recognized that many of Nanaimo’s marginalized people are often on their feet all day and their running shoes having seen better days and in need of replacement.

The program relies solely on donations, the majority of which were provided by Frontrunners of Nanaimo, community outreach support workers, nurses and RCMP members who managed to provide 28 pairs of runners for the first Happy Feet event in front of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment Friday, July 2. However, volunteers handing out the shoes quickly ran out of sizes 10 and 11, which were the sizes most requested.

“There were smiles across the board following the inaugural session of Happy Feet 9-11,” said Waltman, in the press release.

Happy Feet 9-11 events will be held on the last Friday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., in front of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment.

“We’ve now set up a donation box in the foyer of our detachment,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

Anyone who has gently used runners they would like to donate can drop them off at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, 303 Prideaux St., Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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