Nail tech Stephanie Shelton of Greensboro, N.C., started her charity, Heal the Sole, because she wanted to use her professional expertise to give back to the community. Founded in 2016, the yearly event provides palliative foot care, manicures, and haircuts to homeless people. “These people are trying to get back on their feet and the services help them look presentable for job interviews,” explains Shelton. “Foot care helps them heal from the daily beating their feet take from weather conditions, walking, and not being able to take care of their feet due to lack of resources
or supplies.”

In addition to the three nail techs and two hairstylists who volunteered to provide services at the most recent event, a nurse was present to evaluate any serious foot issues. Nine other volunteers washed the attendees’ feet, cleaned and distributed implements to the techs, brought tubs of water for foot washing, assisted with filling out medical consent forms and checking in attendees, and handed out care packages. A local tattoo parlor held a fundraiser to help purchase supplies and gift bag items, and products were provided by Footlogix. The 40 attendees received gift bags including hats, socks, hand and toe warmers, and personal care items.

“The biggest challenge is wondering if there is anyone out there who wanted a service but didn’t get one just out of shame or embarrassment,” says Shelton. “We want to help as many people as we can.” She hopes to expand the charity, accommodating more people and holding events more frequently. She’d love to see the charity spread to other cities as well. Nail techs interested in starting an event in their own city can email Shelton at healthesole18@gmail.com.