Fitness and Nutrition Awards 2020

GHP / 2020 Fitness and Nutrition Awards 17 , Foot Health Social Enterprise of the Year 2020 Sep201047 Located in Virginia, the Jenkins Donelson Foundation (JDF) promotes foot health and healthy lifestyles for the homeless and underserved. Following its well-deserved success in the Fitness &Nutrition Awards 2020, we got in touchwith Carolyn Jenkins to find out more about this award-winning business. Founded in 2016, the Jenkins Donelson Foundation (JDF) is committed to improving foot health in the United States and around the globe. To start, Carolyn provides a brief overview of the firm and offers more insight into some of its services. “JDF fulfills its mission of promoting foot health and healthy lifestyles for the homeless and underserved by providing free goods to them. These goods include shoes, socks, foot care supplies, clothing, bedding, bicycles, kitchenware, school supplies, seasonal products, personal products, and a wide variety of household goods. In addition to this, we also recruit pro- bono podiatric assistance for free clinics, and we create interactive health fairs that offer inexpensive and adaptable educational information to attendees.” As the founder of National I Love My Feet Day!, which is an event celebrated internationally each year on August 17 to encourage people to appreciate their primary mode of transportation and make time to take care of their feet, Carolyn has always had a passion for foot health. It was this passion that inspired her to create JDF, as she explains further. “After coining the phrase ‘take good care of your tootsies, they have to last you a lifetime,’ I began focusing on the health inequities low-income populations experience. The JDF was created to empower the homeless and the underserved with foot health knowledge and goods. We gave away shoes, socks, and foot care supplies to improve their health. In 2019 our new retail partnerships brought us a wide and steady assortment of free goods. With this blessing, we expanded our mission so we could help improve the lifestyles of the underserved. Since 2016, we have improved the lives of thousands of people in eight states, the District of Columbia, and two countries. In its third year of operation, our non-profit, run solely through volunteer efforts, gave away more than $130K in goods.” Regarding the internal culture in place, most JDF volunteers hold full-time jobs. With broad experiences, professionalism, and expertise, this fun-loving and dedicated group is the key to the JDF’s growth and success. They each have the heart to help others, and this dedication drives the non- profits’ ever-widening outreach. Although the outbreak of COVID- 19 this year prevented JDF from creating its interactive health fairs and fundraising events, it has still been able to help the homeless and underserved. Carolyn explains how events developed after the initial lockdown delayed their outreach events. “The pandemic stopped all JDF outreach for a few days. However, families still needed clothes, blankets, detergents, and personal products. People also needed stress relievers, i.e., toys, bicycles, and games. We had all these goods in stock and ready to disperse.” Following state guidelines, equipped with face masks and wipes, JDF volunteers carefully resumed their outreach on a smaller scale. Working with the homeless, families, churches, community organizations, and a local Sheriff’s department, the non-profit resumed weekly distributions. “We promoted foot health information from our sister organization, ilovemyfeetdays. com. Circulating their blogs, we encouraged readers to check on their loved ones’ feet during the lockdown. The blogs offered COVID toes and diabetes warning signs information, do-it-yourself pedicure tips, foot massage, and exercise suggestions. One article reminded readers that continued foot pain can lead to depression, and we provided links so readers could get mental health assistance.” Looking ahead to what the future holds, Carolyn signs off by revealing some of the exciting plans which lie in the pipeline for JDF in the years to come, highlighting their hopes to expand their diverse team even more. “Moving forward, the team would like to work with more podiatrists. At the largest free medical clinic in the USA (Remote Area Medical), I recruited the only podiatrist to volunteer in their twenty-year history. In 2017, JDF established a tele-podiatry pilot program which provided healthcare for low-income families in rural Virginia. The pandemic is currently creating more opportunities for podiatrists to pursue this valuable tool, so we are excited to have been at the forefront of this.” “Our outreach team is looking for opportunities to connect with organizations that serve the underserved in the southern US. Traditionally these populations have underlying health concerns, lower-incomes, and greater needs.” They’d also like to move from their storage facilities to a building so clients can pick up their donations easier. These moves, along with hiring employees, require greater assistance and philanthropic partnerships. The dedication of the JDF team makes it a sure investment for those who share the team’s desire to improve the foot health and lifestyles of the underserved.” Company: Jenkins Donelson Foundation Contact: Carolyn Jenkins Website: Jenkins Donelson Foundation