I learned about the Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic and Herb Bus (now called Herbalista Free Clinic) in Atlanta while I was listening to a podcast. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more so I visited Herbalista Free Clinic to find how to get involved. After filling out a lengthy application and doing a phone interview with founder Lorna Mauney-Brodek, I was accepted and scheduled my first volunteer day with the foot clinic in February this year.
The Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic offers free holistic foot care to our friends on the street. The foot clinic is offered every Monday afternoon throughout the year. The operation is quite efficient with placement of materials, foot stations, clean-up area, sign-in, and a waiting area complete with snacks and coffee. The foot clinic is a blend of holistic and conventional foot care.
The first set of feet I worked with were in good shape. The client was a musician and very entertaining while his feet soaked in the calendula and Epsom salt mixture. I lathered up his feet with a cleansing and healing foot scrub made in the clinic — a mixture of calendula infused olive oil, Castile soap, sugar, powdered oatmeal, and lavender and tea tree essential oils. He chatted away telling me about the instruments he plays and the type of music he enjoys — classic rock — and after scrubbing and inspecting his feet for any trouble spots, I dried them off and began filing and clipping his nails, sloughing off callouses with the "cheese grater," and then spritzing and moisturizing his feet and calves and ending with a brand new pair of athletic socks.
Every client served leaves with a new and fresh clean pair of athletic socks. Sometimes they leave with new shoes! We have a volunteer who regularly purchases athletic shoes, especially in larger men's sizes, for the sole purpose of providing a new (or gently used) pair of shoes for a participant to help reduce future foot problems.
Every person who walked in the door that I had the privilege of speaking with had such an interesting story. Some were quite talkative and laughed and carried on. Others were quiet. And one man fell asleep during the service.
After four hours on my feet — washing, scrubbing, spritzing, wiping, sanitizing, setting up and breaking down stations, everything was put in its place and the room was returned to its regular layout, my apron was sanitized, and it was time to leave. Reflecting on my first encounter with the Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic, I felt energized, my heart was warm, my body was tired, and I was grateful to be part of such a wonderful team of people providing a service to our friends on the street.
There are a few ways you can help.
- Become a member of The Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic Crew.
- Tax-deductible monetary donations are always appreciated and can be made by check or PayPal.
- Donation of supplies. The foot clinic has an Amazon page, and the following supplies are always needed:
- White athletic socks — long and short (men's and women's)
- Calendula flowers
- Lavender and tea tree essential oils
- Epsom salts
You can start a Foot Clinic in your city. Lorna has generously provided the Foot Clinic Manual at no cost.
Writer Sandy Morehouse is a Functional Herbalist and Regional Educator for WishGarden Herbal Remedies in the Atlanta area.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.