Donate your shoes: How simple gesture could make big difference

Lucy Shaw, Zak Lloyd, Dean Gresser, Alicia Whiticker, Chris Farrugia, and Tori McLean from OnePointHealth Penrith. Photo: Melinda Jane.
Share this story

When you think of the things that those in need require to lead comfortable and healthy lives, the first to come to mind might be food or clothing. But, according to local podiatrists, there’s another thing that’s just as important, and they need your help to get it.

Local charity, The Footcare Project, was initially started by two podiatrists back in 2019, recognising the dire need for proper footwear among the less fortunate and homeless.

Though the initiative was momentarily interrupted by the pandemic, it was relaunched at the end of 2023, with high hopes to provide access to properly fitting footwear to everyone who needs it.

“Access to properly fitting footwear is crucial for those in need because it goes beyond mere practicality – it impacts self-esteem, health outcomes, comfort, and dignity,” said Alicia Whiticker from OnePointHealth Penrith.

“By addressing this basic yet essential need, we aim to uplift individuals and empower them to lead healthier, more dignified lives.”

How The Footcare Project does this is by working with a local charity every three months to host a footcare drive and fit shoes to those in need properly.

“Since launching The Footcare Project in 2023 we have done two footcare fittings in Penrith,” Whiticker said.

“They have been very successful fittings with over 200 recipients from kids to adults who we have been able to fit with new great footwear.”

And this has only been possible with the help of the local community, who has donated their gently used footwear for the cause.

The OnePointHealth team works closely with their podiatrists to ensure footwear is clean and in good condition, but there are a few things you can make a note of in advance if you’d like to donate.

“We collect footwear of all sizes from kids to adults,” Whiticker said.

“We look for enclosed footwear preferably sneakers and walking shoes. These shoes must be in good quality, laces, and inner soles. We also collect brand new socks.”

The Footcare Project’s Penrith drop off locations are The Footwear Store and OnePointHealth Penrith.

For more details about The Footcare Project, visit

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

Share this story