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Samaritans Give Foot Baths And Shoes To San Diego Homeless

Evening Edition

— More than 400 homeless men, women and children in San Diego received a bubbly foot bath and a pair of new shoes and socks from volunteers.

By 9:30 Wednesday morning, nearly 400 homeless men, women and children had received a 10-minute foot scrub and pair of news shoes and socks from the Samaritan’s Feet organization.

Aired 6/21/12 on KPBS News.

More than 400 homeless men, women and children in San Diego received a bubbly foot bath and a pair of new shoes and socks from volunteers.

Homeless men at the San Diego Rescue Mission receive a foot-bath from volunteers with the Samaritan's Feet Project.
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Above: Homeless men at the San Diego Rescue Mission receive a foot-bath from volunteers with the Samaritan's Feet Project.

The international faith-based group provides shoes to 3 million people worldwide. Its mission is based on the biblical story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet.

Hundreds waited patiently in a large room at the San Diego Rescue Mission in downtown for their new footwear and scrub.

At first, Johnny Jaime, a resident at the Mission said he was reluctant to have anyone touch his feet.

“I didn’t think I was going to have another man wash my feet. But after the conversation we had, I wanted to wash his feet in return,” said Jaime.

Larry Lewis, another Mission resident, said he was grateful and touched by the experience.

“It was a humbling experience to allow them to do that,” he said while looking down at his new shoes.

Herb Johnson, CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission, encouraged the men to participate by being the first one to have his feet washed.

“This is a tough crowd -- these are hardened guys, they’ve had hard lives. So it’s been a blessing to watch them open up to this experience,” said Johnson.

About 60 volunteers from local churches washed the residents feet and distributed the new gym shoes.

The residents seemed genuinely grateful for the washing and shoes, but Lewis said the best part was the prayer at the end of the foot bath.

“It all felt great, but it was the prayer with the man who washed my feet that meant the most to me,” Lewis said.

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