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Kevan Orvitz – seen here on May 22, 2020 with health practitioners, from left, Nancy Xu, Rennu Rahul and Marielle Barrientos at North York General Hospital – co-founded MEGAComfort Inc. in 2002, and specialize in shoe insoles worn mainly by factory workers.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

The organizers: Kevan Orvitz, Barbara Orvitz and staff at MEGAComfort

The project: Donating 20,000 shoe insoles

The reason: To provide foot relief for health care workers

Kevan and Barbara Orvitz never dreamed their small business focused on footwear could become so helpful to health care workers.

The Orvitzs co-founded MEGAComfort Inc. in 2002, and specialize in shoe insoles worn mainly by factory workers. The Toronto-based company now has 15 staff and it had been doing well when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. With orders slowing because of the outbreak, the couple turned their attention to helping others.

They’d watched the news and had seen stories about overworked doctors, nurses and other health care workers. “They just looked so exhausted,” Dr. Orvitz recalled from his office. “I started to think, how can we help?”

The company had a warehouse full of insoles and the couple decided to donate 20,000 pairs to front-line hospital staff, a donation worth about $500,000. “We put out a notice on Instagram and the response was overwhelming,” Dr. Orvitz said. “One nurse said she had been on her feet for 24 hours straight. We didn’t realize the need.”

With the help of MEGAComfort’s employees, the Orvitzs are in the process of sending the insoles to workers across Canada and the United States. Many have sent the company photographs and messages of thanks. “They didn’t even realize how much they needed it,” Ms. Orvitz said. “You see all the bad news on TV and it’s discouraging … but then you get e-mails like this from someone smiling and showing appreciation, just bringing out the good in everyone. It just leaves you with a great feeling.“

Ms. Orvitz said the company is hoping to do more in future, but for now, they are working flat-out to get the insoles distributed as quickly as possible. ”It’s just so nice to actually be able to make a difference.”