Exuberant volunteers from WillBridge, doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professionals are gearing up for the seventh annual interfaith homeless foot-washing event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.
The event is an effective tool to connect the most vulnerable to the services and programs they need toward the road to self-sufficiency and a healthier life.
Though spearheaded by WillBridge the event is a collaborative partnership of many nonprofits, churches and public agencies, including the Santa Barbara Housing Authority, CARES, Project Recovery, Legal Aid, Doctors Without Walls, the Veterans Administration, New Beginnings Safe Parking and many more.
Highlights of the day include breakfast, new tennis shoes, hiking/workboots or sandals with new socks, an opportunity to have their feet washed and a visit with local resources at the Resource Connection Center where social workers, alcohol/drug counselors, and other professional health care workers who can assist individuals wanting and needing support. Guests leave with a healthy lunch (sandwich/fruit/snack/water) and a personal care kit (toothbrush and toothpaste, powder, shampoo, lotion and soap).
The event is held each year on Holy Thursday, coinciding with traditional foot-washing services held throughout the world. Foot washing shows homeless people that they are not invisible but loved and cared for.
Contributions are sought to help WillBridge support this event. We estimate 280 to 300 homeless friends to attend. A donation of $40 will purchase new shoes/socks and food. WillBridge is also seeking donations for personal care kits, including small travel sizes of toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoo and soap.
To volunteer or learn more about WillBridge, please call 805.564.1911.
— Lynnelle Williams is the CEO of WillBridge of Santa Barbara.