Hope in Action
Without the help of amazing volunteers, Ray of Hope could never care for the hundreds of people who come to us for help. In this issue, learn about a team of dedicated nurses who help to keep our guests healthy from the toes up. Thank you, volunteers, for sharing your time and talent!
Keeping guests healthy, body and sole
When Ray of Hope staff brought Ron* to see foot care nurse Linda Jacobs, it was clear he was in a lot of pain. Like many people living in the shelter system, Ron seldom takes his socks and shoes off because he has nowhere to store them. Sweat and dirt built up, causing painful corns and sores between his toes.
Linda went to work, gently cleaning Ron’s feet, clipping his nails and treating his corns. When she was finished, she gave him a new pair of socks.
“He couldn’t believe how much better his feet felt,” she says.
Ron is just one of the clients the foot care clinic at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC) sees each month. Linda, who began volunteering on the ROHCC hospitality team in 2011, soon realized that there was a real need for this kind of care among our guests.
Many guests have diabetes, which slows circulation. Blisters or small cuts can become larger problems, leading to amputation. Due to a lack of high-quality food, guests may be overweight and may suffer from edema in their legs. And often, they don’t have either the knowledge to care for these conditions or the resources to buy creams or medications to treat them.
“ROHCC staff are excellent at supporting and promoting our clinic,” Linda says. “They watch for guests through the week who may be having issues. They offer them the opportunity to sign up for our next clinic date. Even if there are no openings, we try to fit clients in if they have a problem.”
As the nurses treat clients, they often build relationships with them and are able to ask about other medical issues they may be having. “We don’t diagnose conditions, but we can redirect them to the health care nurses who visit the ROHCC,” Linda says.
Linda and her colleague Linda Dawson launched the clinic in 2011. In 2018, using funds freed up when the professional association they belonged to dissolved, they set up a room at the ROHCC with equipment and three reclining chairs.
Linda remembers that while female guests were quick to access the service at first, male guests took a little more time to accept it. But as more guests realized the benefits, and the number of people asking for help grew, nurses Maria Urbarri and BJ Graham joined the clinic.
The clinic originally ran on Thursday evenings but moved to Saturday mornings because it’s easier for guests to get to the ROHCC during the daytime, especially if have mobility issues.
There aren’t many free foot care services in Waterloo Region, and even fewer that offer the level of care these nurses provide.
“We take our time with each client. We clip their nails and treat calluses and corns. Everyone gets fresh socks, and we make sure those fit properly. If they’re needed, we’ll provide clients with insoles and sometimes we’ll give them better shoes.”
The nurses, who each run their own foot care practices, donate these supplies out of their own pockets.
“Everyone is welcome to come to the clinic. We don’t have stipulations for care, and we don’t ask questions. Many of our clients have very few resources. Offering this service without cost frees up money they can use for food or rent.”
Linda says many people wonder why the nurses volunteer at the ROHCC. “It’s a way to love people where they are,” she says.
But she worries about who will continue this important work in the future. Linda has been nursing for 51 years and the other nurses are also nearing retirement. They are concerned that if the clinic has to close, many vulnerable people will fall through the cracks.
“We’re hoping that other nurses with foot care training will be willing to join us,” she says. “It’s a very rewarding experience. You see a difference every day.”
Do you have foot care experience? Are you interested in learning more about the monthly foot care clinic? If so, please contact Jaime Wright, Volunteer Services Manager, at 519-578-8018, ext. 224.
*Name has been changed
Thank you, Ray of Hope Golf Classic participants!
The 2023 Ray of Hope Golf Classic took place on Monday, June 19, 2023. One hundred and twenty-four golfers and twenty sponsors raised over $45,000 for our Youth Support Services. A special shout-out to our Gold, Silver, Bronze and Cart Sponsors along with Innovative Ink for printing our signs and Rebel Creek Golf for hosting us.
Help a neighbour in need
When you give, you make life a little easier for people in our community who are struggling with food insecurity. Thank you!
URGENT: The Marketplace food hamper program continues to run low on all items and the following are especially needed:
For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations are appreciated!
You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.