Students from WesternU’s College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) collected about 400 pairs of new and used shoes this holiday season during the Second Annual Sole Searching Shoe Drive on campus.

With boxes of shoes in hand, they then volunteered their time organizing, displaying and helping homeless people and needy families from the Pomona community receive a couple pairs of shoes each during the Helping Hands Caring Hearts Christmas Dinner Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010 at the New Harvest Community Church in Pomona, Calif.

Approximately 200 guests were at the festive event, which was sponsored by Helping Hands, Caring Hearts Ministry.

WesternU’s student volunteers were Adrienne Estes, Sonia Mvuemba, Jackie Pham, Adam Beckler, Jacob Stuart, Brett Waverly, Lisa Doan, Adrian Javaherian, Farid Didari, Courtny Johnson, Reina Deogracias, Michael Corpuz and Christopher Saccone.

The late-afternoon affair bustled with volunteers preparing food, setting up tables and chairs, making balloon animals for the kids, passing out free pet food and preparing the children’s favorite part – a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. .

The lines were long, according to Estes, a second-year CPM student. She said about 20 guest were allowed to “”shop”” for shoes at one time.

“”We had shoes flying left and right. The boys were in charge of passing out bags while the girls helped keep the shoes in order and help find sizes,”” she said.

Second-year CPM student Brett Waverly said reaching out to those in need and making an impact in the community was a great experience, as was working with the church and classmates to help families and individuals find shoes.

“”Sometimes it is easy to get stuck in a routine at school and you forget that people around you do not have daily necessities, especially a good pair of shoes,”” Waverly said. “”Many of us have several pairs of shoes. I personally have over 20 pairs in my closet, so it really opens your eyes when people living in your community are in need of simple items, such as shoes.””