PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hundreds of people received free foot care, shoes, and clothing thanks to an annual event to help the less fortunate.

Chester McCarthy knows just how important it is to have sturdy shoes.

He was recently homeless, living under a ramp near Heinz Field.

“Shoes [are] everything, especially for a homeless person because you [have] to walk a lot, and like I said, I [have] blisters all over my feet from walking. I got a watch on me, I bet you I walk nine, ten miles a day,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy along with hundreds of other people struggling to survive spent the morning.at the Catholic Charities Downtown.

They all received a brand new pair of Red Wing work boots, socks and clothing.

“A nice Christmas gift. I mean, a really good Christmas gift that I can use and I think it’s a blessing from God,” Tracy Bernotas said.

“It will mean the world to me because I’m going to wear them,” Thomas Solomon said.

This event, known as Our Hearts to Your Souls, was created about nine years ago by Dr. Stephen Conti’s children.

The UPMC orthopedic surgeon has continued the tradition with the help of Catholic Charities.

Not only did people receive new supplies today, they had a chance to receive some medical attention.

“They roam the street most of the day right and even the best shelters will move them out during the day and let them in at night. So, that’s the time when they’re out on foot and we’re afraid they’re going to get frost bite or corns or calluses, or sores,” Dr. Conti said.

This event has grown drastically over the years. It started off with just 30 pairs of shoes being handed out. Now it has gone national.

Doctors and volunteers in 40 cities across the country will be passing out boots.

“We’ll keep going as long as people support us,” Dr. Conti said.

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