Monday, October 19, 2009

Physical therapy and rehab specialists promote charitable spirit


-- Black shoes, brown shoes, big shoes and small.

New shoes, worn shoes, adults and kids all.

From sneakers and sandals to boots, footwear is being donated to a local business to help a charity that serves people in need worldwide.

On Oct. 1, Janesville Physical Therapy Specialists kicked off a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people and then distributes them at no cost to people in need.

Less than halfway through the month, at least 100 pairs of shoes had been collected at both of the business locations in Janesville and Evansville.

“We’re beyond filling a box that is 3 feet high, 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep and already got another box going,’’ said Blasé Strobl, owner and physical therapist.

“It’s great. I think we’re doing well,’’ he said.

Strobl, chose Souls4Soles because he said it’s a neat organization that fits perfectly with his profession.

“As a physical therapist, I always look at somebody’s feet whether it’s for shoulder, back or neck pain and recommend footwear in addition to conducting walking and gate analysis,” he said.

“That’s how it clicked for me,” Strobl said. “I got thinking that some people don’t have shoes. And even though some of these (donated) shoes may not be the most supportive, they might be better than nothing and help somebody a bit.’’

Conducting the shoe drive through Oct. 31 also is a way to promote October as physical therapy month, he said.

“For me it’s a win-win situation and something to create interest and excitement in giving and feeling good about yourself,” Strobl said.

Most of the shoes donated to date have come from clients, but others are calling and interested about how they can get involved, too, he said.

Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away more than 5.5 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes to people in more than 125 countries, including the United States.

“People think about food and shelter as a basic need,” Strobl said.

“But having shoes is a very basic need as well. We’re looking at just trying to help people around the world have the essential needs. Protecting your feet,” he said, “can be a great way to keep our population healthy.”



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