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This article was published 13/3/2017 (1893 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Sunshine House volunteer has been nominated one of 10 L’Oreal Paris Canadian Women of Worth for her time spent providing foot care to homeless people.
Kirsten Bourque, a registered nurse who works for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has been running Street Feet at Sunshine House for almost two years and said she was surprised when she got the nomination.
"Somebody from the board of directors of Sunshine House chose to nominate me, and I just got a funny text message the next day saying ‘Hey we nominated you for this award,’ and I didn’t think much of it because you know, I was just nominated," she said.
Margaret Ormond, the special projects manager at Sunshine House, said their mandate is to provide programming which fulfils people’s social needs in order to help them learn and grow. After Ormond found a report from the Main Street project that noted foot care as an urgent need for street-involved people, the board decided to provide that service.
Coincidently, a board member met Bourque, who immediately mentioned she was a certified foot nurse and said she had provided foot care to many First Nations communities in northern Manitoba.
"A lot of people are on their feet all day. They are walking around; they are wearing shoes that don’t fit them properly. They have frostbite and all kinds of messy things going on with their feet," Bourque said. "I can give them some education and background on how to properly look after their feet and then encourage them to come to me regularly so that I can always care for their feet."
"I don’t see it as me providing a wonderful service. It’s just a skill that I have. I don’t mind doing it. I enjoy my time there. And it’s also a time that I get to practise a nursing skill that I have without having to be at work with the stresses of work."
Ormond said the board decided to nominate Kirsten, with Street Feet, for the long time it has been operating. She said many of their projects fall behind after beginning due to lack of funding. However, Street Feet has been running for almost two years with no budget.
"For this one, the biggest cost would have been to pay for the service, to pay appropriately, which is not cheap, and we didn’t have to, they managed to do it," Ormond continued.
L’Oreal Paris has nominated 10 women around the country for its inaugural Canadian Women of Worth program, which celebrates and honours women who volunteer their time serving their communities.
"For the people who come here regularly… they access services all over the place," Ormond added. "But this is high-quality service, and they don’t have to wait…and their feet are treated in a very dignified, professional way. And that really matters."
Each of the 10 women receives $10,000 in charitable grant toward their organization. Kirsten said she would use the money to buy new tools for the foot care she provides and the remainder will go toward purchasing a new van for Sunshine House.
"I see this as an opportunity for Sunshine House. I’m going to continue to volunteer for Sunshine House and add this to a list of really interesting life experiences that I’ve been able to have," Bourque said. "I think it raises awareness about Sunshine House and the services that they offer as a drop-in centre for homeless people."
Bourque attended a gala event in Toronto on March 8, which is recognized as International Women’s Day.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times until 2019.