The Good Samaritan Society and Samaritan’s Feet International. Sounds like perfect partners for providing seniors with proper footwear.
“It’s all about the message of hope. Very similar to John 13, we are going to wash feet when we provide that message of hope with our seniors,” says Deborah Cox-Roush, manager of senior programs for Samaritan's Feet International.
In John 13:14, Jesus says, "Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet."
“Oh man, it kind of takes your breath away a little bit,” Nate Schema, Society president and CEO, says after washing a resident's feet.
Jesus’ teachings, on display, at the independent living at Good Samaritan Society – Sioux Falls Village in South Dakota.
“We always talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus. To be able to sit down and meet Beverley (Halbritter) and be able to serve her in that very special way, it’s pretty humbling. Just fills your heart,” Nate says.
It also fills a need.
“Samaritan’s Feet is a global nonprofit. We’re in 108 countries, 450 United States cities. Our mission is zero shoeless children. We changed that mission in summer of 2021 to include our aging population,” Deborah says.
'Anti-slip, anti-skid' shoes for seniors
Resident Beverly Budahl is feeling pampered.
“I like these new stockings. I’ll soon have new shoes too. Plus, I had a pedicure. I don’t get one of those very often,” Beverly says.
Those new shoes are designed specifically for seniors.
“They are anti-slip, anti-skid, lightweight Velcro closing shoes to provide mobility for seniors,” Deborah says. “This has become very personal for me. My father fell in May, and he did not survive the fall.”
Fall prevention is a top priority for both organizations.
“We know it’s one of the most significant events that can happen in a senior’s life. Anything that we can do to ensure they have the right socks, the right shoes, it can be a game changer for us,” Nate says.
Around 100 residents at Sioux Falls Village and Good Samaritan Society - Luther Manor are receiving new gear. It’s part of a nationwide rollout for Samaritan’s Feet Seniors.
“I love it. It’s such a great event and we can share our faith with our family members and just show how much we appreciate them. It’s amazing,” says Matt Ditmanson, volunteer and Sanford Health community benefit programs director.
'Tremendous partners from day one'
Sanford Health is a long-time supporter of the Samaritan's Feet mission.
“Sanford Health was on board and so engaging when we started talking about serving seniors. As a matter of fact, they designed a pamphlet for us that each senior will get today,” Deborah says.
“I can’t say enough about Good Samaritan Society or Sanford Health. They’ve been just tremendous partners from day one.
"Propelling residents forward by protecting their feet and providing hope for the future.
“To be able to come back into a location again, serve people in a tangible, real way, that’s pretty darn special,” Nate says.
A simple act like this is a glimpse of how the Society is caring for others every day.
“It’s often hard to describe until you see it. You see that love. You see those interactions between team members who treat those residents as if they were their own family,” Nate says.