These Shoes Were Meant For Walking

July 25, 2016

Volunteer Teresa Savarino helped distribute orthopedic shoes to Regency House residents at a special pop-up market. Iona received close to 300 pairs of shoes from Public Shoe Store in Arlington.
Volunteer Teresa Savarino helped distribute orthopedic shoes to Regency House residents at a special pop-up market. Iona received close to 300 pairs of shoes from Public Shoe Store in Arlington.

In early March, Iona was contacted by Karen Widmayer, daughter of Dr. S. H. Friedman, who owned Public Shoe Store in Arlington. After more than 70 years in business, Public Shoe Store was closing its doors. And, now, Karen was looking for a trusted nonprofit to take their bounty of orthopedic shoes. Iona, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

Thanks to this unusual gift, Iona’s social workers and care managers have been able to provide new shoes to any client in-need, totally free of charge. To help distribute the shoes, Iona hosted a special “pop-up” shoe market at Regency House, the only low-income public housing option for older adults in Ward 3. With 85 pairs of shoes in tow, we were able to find perfect fits for more than 50 residents. Says Joan Curry, who received a pair of loafers, “My goodness, these are comfortable. If I could do the happy dance, I would!”

All told, Iona received close to 300 pairs of shoes, valued at more than $45,000. In addition to our clients, Iona has shared this generous donation with other senior services agencies in the District. We will continue to share our bounty as supplies last.

Written by Rosie Aquila

Rosie Aquila is Iona’s Communications and Marketing Manager. A graduate of Kenyon College (where she worked as editor for the college’s newspaper), Rosie joined Iona’s team in 2014. 

One thought on “These Shoes Were Meant For Walking”

  1. Iona has been serving residents of Regency House for 35 years with a wide range of services. This gift of orthopedic shoes – a gift that keeps on giving for many years – is “over the top.” Thank you to Karen Widmeyer and Iona. I can’t wait to see more folks walking near Connecticut and Nebraska Avenues!

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