Florida Woman Washes Neighbors’ Feet

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“Who would like to have their feet washed?” Barb Leunk calls cheerfully into the waiting room of a medical clinic for people with low incomes.

Betty Ann Smith soaks her feet at the foot-washing ministry.

She said that she often gets quizzical looks, but once people try out her free service, they are always pleased.

Leunk, a registered nurse and a member of Bradenton (Florida) Christian Reformed Church, began a foot-washing ministry last April, initiated and assisted by her friend and fellow nurse, Diane Van Ryn.

Leunk spends three hours each week on the service. She trims nails, gives diabetic treatments, soaks feet in bath beads, educates people about foot care, and distributes socks and antifungal creams. Members of the church have generously donated the supplies she needs to run the service, Leunk said.

The clients are delighted—they often have a long wait at the clinic and have time to enjoy the royal treatment they receive. The clinic manager is also delighted to offer the extra service, according to Leunk.

“I look forward to every week I go, because I realize how important it is for us to be together,” Leunk said. “We’re all on a journey.”

Leunk often discusses spiritual and emotional matters with clients: “It’s amazing—people are so open when you’re at their feet.”

“I love that I can have my feet tended to weekly instead of going to a podiatrist only once or twice a year,” said Betty Ann Smith, a regular client. “I am a diabetic and I know the importance of taking good care of my feet. This gives me peace. It also gives me peace knowing that we talk about our Lord each time I visit.”

One man who “couldn’t get enough of having his feet cared for” has begun attending the Bradenton CRC each week.

About the Author

Roxanne Van Farowe is a freelance writer.

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