Shoe­less to help home­less

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

EX­POS­ING her toes to win­ter’s chill is an eye-opener for Brodie Hoare.

The 21-year-old is go­ing shoe­less for two months in an ef­fort to raise aware­ness of home­less­ness in Auck­land.

‘‘They are kind of an in­vis­i­ble pop­u­la­tion,’’ Hoare says.

‘‘You get so used to peo­ple living on the streets that you end up not see­ing them or car­ing for them.

‘‘I think it’s good to just open peo­ple’s eyes up again.’’

It’s been a rough start for Hoare who started her shoe­less cam­paign on the brink of win­ter and also broke her big toe af­ter slip­ping on tiles.

‘‘My feet are tough­en­ing up a lit­tle bit,’’ she says.

The Mt Al­bert res­i­dent started the chal­lenge in May so she could fundraise to go to the four-day As­pir­ing Lead­ers Fo­rum in Welling­ton.

‘‘I want to go to a lead­er­ship con­fer­ence so I can be­come more skilled about help­ing other peo­ple so it seemed nat­u­ral to pro­mote an­other cause along­side mine.’’

The Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land stu­dent says she met a home­less man out­side a su­per­mar­ket who asked her why she wasn’t wear­ing any shoes.

‘‘I had to ex­plain the project to him and it felt so bizarre.

‘‘It was quite hum­bling for him to ex­press con­cern over me not wear­ing shoes on my feet when peo­ple don’t ex­press that same con­cern for him on a regular ba­sis. You get so used to peo­ple living on the streets that you end up not see­ing them or car­ing for them

‘‘Just the fact he had so much room for com­pas­sion for me and I was do­ing some­thing quite shal­low in the grand scale of things.’’

The cam­paign is made more per­sonal by the fact that Hoare’s un­cle is home­less. Men­tal ill­ness was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor, she says.

‘‘It’s a more com­pli­cated pic­ture than what is nor­mally painted of home­less peo­ple.’’

Hoare has raised $1000 so far and plans to give any ex­tra money raised to the Auck­land City Mission.

She is also run­ning a shoe drive for the mission and has col­lected 30 pairs so far.

Hoare plans to con­tinue her shoe­less chal­lenge un­til the lead­er­ship con­fer­ence starts on July 2.

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