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Hearts & Soles: Raising money in February for Best Feet Forward (BFF)

How Fox Valley Warming Shelter has benefited from BFF

Through Feb. 29, help Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley’s Best Feet Forward program (BFF) with the purchase of a heart through the Hearts and Soles fundraiser. $1 gets you a large heart, and $.50 gets you a small heart. All proceeds go to BFF, which provides shoes to those in the community (including Harbor House, Christine Ann Center in Oshkosh, and various schools throughout the Fox Valley).

Did you know the program provided more than 300 pairs of shoes in 2015 alone?  That’s a lot of happy feet in our surrounding communities!  One of the locations Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley has visited (twice!) was the Fox Valley Warming Shelter in Appleton. Approximately 100 shoes have been given out there to very appreciative residents.

We caught up with Scott Peeples, Director of the Fox Valley Warming Shelter, to find out more about how our BFF program has benefited the clients of the shelter. He said they are very grateful for the support of the program!

Q: What were some of the reactions you heard from those who received them? We heard some awesome comments while we were there, but I knew you probably received a lot more feedback!
“Clients were very honored and appreciative, in having the Fleet Feet folks come out with their Best Feet Forward program,” Peeples said. “To the client, everyone was interested in getting a new pair of shoes and eagerly took his or her turn in line to get measured for shoes.  Many of the clients noted how worn out or damaged their current shoes were, and how comfortable and perfect the Fleet Feet shoes were, once they tried them on. When I asked a couple clients if they wanted to pose for a picture, I was pleased to see that one of the clients was someone who recently got out of an inpatient alcohol treatment program. He had been sober for several months at that point, and this seemed to be another positive light for him, another boost to help him stay on his sobriety path.”  

Q:  What kind of impact does a partnership like the BFF Program have those who receive the shoes?
“For the most part, people who are homeless are on their feet for longer periods of time than those of us who have permanent housing,” Peeples said. “Many folks who stay at the Shelter walk to and from the Warming Shelter to Downtown Appleton and other locations. Even if they are walking to the bus stop around the corner, that is more walking than many people who own cars complete during the day. While shoes are essential for everyone -- especially good walking shoes -- purchasing new shoes is low priority for people trying to save any funds they have for housing.  When they receive free shoes from us at the Shelter, they are normally second-hand donated shoes. This is also the case when we give people vouchers to St. Vincent de Paul. Finding the exact shoe size is also a struggle, even if the shoes they get are in good shape. 

“The impact this partnership makes is huge.  After the fall Best Feet Forward donation, we knew we didn't have to worry about walking shoes for current Shelter clients in the immediate future. Sporting new shoes that fit well, clients were reinvigorated and newly motivated to do the work they needed to during the day to get back on the path toward self-sufficiency. 

“Just like the other basic needs we provide -- shelter, food, shower and laundry facilities -- comfortable, well-fitting footwear is another basic needs that provides clients the ability to truly put their best foot forward when they take on each day.”

 For all the details on the BFF program, please visit:


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