Social workers plan shoe drive to benefit patients

by Kara Haworth, Nebraska Medicine | March 08, 2018

Image with caption: Nebraska Medicine social workers will sponsor a shoe drive this month.

Nebraska Medicine social workers will sponsor a shoe drive this month.

March is National Social Work Month, and to mark the occasion, Nebraska Medicine social workers are launching a service project. It's a shoe drive to gather gently-used shoes to provide our patients in need.

"It's so hard to see a patient discharged without shoes to wear," said Jen Sparrock, manager, social work. "Sometimes our patients are homeless and don't have shoes or maybe they're not proper shoes, like flip flops, or they lost their shoes in a trauma situation."

It is cases like these that inspired social work to plan a shoe drive. They're calling it "Sharing Our Soles" and colleagues are encouraged to drop off gently-used shoes (preferably ones that are easy to walk in) from March 19 through March 23 at bins that can be found at the entrances of Clarkson Tower, Durham Outpatient Center and Wittson Hall. All donations will be delivered to the Nebraska Medicine Guild's Closet and distributed to patients in need.

The shoe drive seems fitting for a profession known for always thinking of others' needs.

"We are very proud to be social workers," Sparrock said. "We want to fulfill the unmet needs of our patients."

Sparrock said her team of 50 social workers are in many areas of the Nebraska Medicine health network, not just the inpatient setting. This includes ambulatory clinics, the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging and anywhere there is a need.

"The needs of our patients are complex," she said. "We see patients facing life-changing diagnoses every day. They need assistance to manage their new reality and stay well in the community."

Sparrock noted the barriers patients face to making their health a priority, which include lack of transportation and money and include many other factors, like poor living conditions and mental health issues.

"Social workers serve as their advocate," she said. "They give that patient a voice in our complicated world."

Sparrock, who joined the organization about a year ago, said she was delighted to see how our ITEACH values align so well with Social Work's national values, which include service, social justice, dignity, worth of person, importance of human relations, integrity and competence.

"This organization is very generous," Sparrock said. "But it's the people inside it who are also incredibly generous and really care about the patients we serve."


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Sarah O
March 08, 2018 at 11:10 AM

just shoes? would socks be helpful too?

Fran Higgins
March 08, 2018 at 8:05 AM

What a great idea! Thanks for doing this.

March 08, 2018 at 6:53 AM

This is a great idea, I have a bag I just put together for the Goodwill that I now plan on bringing here!