We had the opportunity to partner with Samaritan Daytop Village, a non-profit that empowers New Yorkers to improve the quality of their lives through treatment for substance abuse and supportive housing. We joined them in their program called “Walking in Her Shoes” and were able to serve their clients in a really special way.

Share This Story:

We had the opportunity to talk with Roseann Evans, Director of Development at Samaritan Daytop Village in New York City. Samaritan’s Feet was able to give this amazing organization about 750 pairs of shoes (from a larger shipment of 4,800) to distribute in a really unique way. Check out our Q&A with her below:

Share a little bit about Samaritan Daytop Village.

We are a 60-year-old organization that started at the beginning of the opioid crisis in New York City and we continue to work tirelessly to help those in need. The model that was created started with people coming in for treatment and then in return learn how to help someone else. So, we have a lot of people who are staff members now who were previously clients. They went through our training and decided to give back from the help that they received.

From that, we’ve grown to include a comprehensive list of services and programs. At this moment, we help over 35,000 people annually, which includes people dealing with substance abuse or other mental and health issues, people experiencing homelessness, veterans, seniors, families, asylum seekers, and immigrants.

What are some of the needs you encounter?

Sometimes we get an influx of families or individuals that come through our facilities, and a hygiene kit can mean so much to them—it shows them that someone cares for them. If you’re coming from across the border with only the shoes on your feet, then shoes are so important. If you can come and get a pair of boots or walking shoes to sustain you throughout the year, that is a big deal. 

To be able to give to those that rose above their hardships, some incentive to be a part of this work…that really helps keep a family environment. We want to show our clients, and our staff because many of them are former clients, that becoming clean or coming off of the streets, that there is progression; that they can achieve things in their life.

But there are things that we need and that we can’t provide because of budget cuts and regulations. So receiving the shoes was so important to us because it’s not something we can go out there and purchase on our own. 

Share how you got connected with Samaritan’s Feet and what that looked like specifically for your organization.

We were doing a program for women in treatment, there were about 300, to show them there’s a different way, path, and process to get them out of their current situation. We began working with some of the professionals and consultants in our area and they would come talk about their jobs and lives, so we called it “Walking In Her Shoes.” We got our staff and board to write encouraging statements to those women about how they can achieve something beyond treatment, beyond their current circumstances. 

As the Development Director, I went on a search and found Samaritan’s Feet and thought, “wow, that’d be amazing.” Even being able to share the story of the Good Samaritan, we saw how this could be so impactful for our women. Samaritan’s Feet ended up donating about 750 pairs of shoes to us. We’ve had needs for shoes in the past, but hadn’t had anyone in particular fill that need.

During Women’s History Month, we had women come in as part of the “Walking In Her Shoes” program. We had a female rapper, graduates of our programs, and other women just come share what they’ve achieved, their successes. We set up an area and allowed the women to “shop” for their shoes and pick out something they could wear at an interview or just something they could wear out of treatment to feel important.

As a female, shoes are everything. We wanted these women to feel good about themselves because they were graduating out the program and we wanted to give them a sense of pride about themselves.