Shoeless to help homeless
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.