In A Nutshell:
They collect, clean, and then donate all types of new and used shoes to disadvantaged youth in Third-World nations and local inner-city communities.
Why They Rock:
- The organization is active throughout the United States with five branches and has donated shoes to many countries such as Mexico, Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, and Liberia.
- Their goal was to collect 100 shoes when the non-profit started in December 2006, and today (last update: April 2011) they have collected almost 10,000 shoes!
- They provide a pair of new socks with each pair of shoes they donate, and educate youth about the sport of running.
It’s appropriate 50Give rolled into town days before the running of the Kentucky Derby…my time volunteering was sprint speed like Secretariat with the mission to outfit shoes to those less fortunate across the globe under the volunteer pioneer clocking in at age 15…yes, fifteen or ten plus five!
I practice hard to keep an open-mind on the road, but I was honestly surprised (happily) to see my contact was a teenager making strides for positivity! Gabe, the Give Running President for the Kentucky Chapter and his kind mother Heather greeted me outside Ormsby Heights Church to pack up all types of shoes for a drop-off.
We packed up their car and headed to a local paint store which is a holding spot before they are shipped off to their location, and this particular batch is heading to Haiti. A 50Give 6 degrees of separation moment occurred when we discovered a bag of eye glasses mixed with a box of athletic shoes…Bing Bam – I instantly thought of New Eyes for the Needy in New Jersey who send used glasses to those in need across the world, therefore I shipped 20 pairs of eyewear to New Eyes for a second life (not before I snapped some glamour shots for the Kentucky photo album).
That was it for volunteering – fast help that will provide joy which is best explained from Greg, Give Running Founder and track star, “…We (Give Running) believe in joy. We believe we receive most when we give most. We believe through giving we receive joy, perspective, new opportunities, and empathy. Most importantly, we receive love when we give love. We believe Coach John Wooden: “There is great joy in doing something for somebody else.” We believe in laughter, and we believe laughter is contagious. We believe in tears, too. We believe in the tough times that make us stronger, more courageous. We believe in the tough times that sow the seeds of our future joy, just as a field is harrowed before planting and harvest. We believe authentic living is the source of authentic joy.”
Louisville hospitality started in Birmingham with my crew from Black Warrior Riverkeeper who contacted their friend Barbara, and she generously loaned her amazing condo in the hip and beautiful neighborhood of Deer Park. I was walking distance to great eats like Highland Morning (cheap gourmet breakfast at all times…dreamy), and I found the Holy Cup of coffee shops and I’ve been to lots but Day’s Espresso & Coffee is winning the Tour de 50! When I’m not on a computer I love to run (why I heart Give Running), and locals directed me to Cherokee Park which provided a tranquil trot (I need to get my horsie words out while in Kentucky).
As you can see volunteering and giving doesn’t mean you need to tour across North America (I’m legally crazy in 17 states)…you can do things from your computer, spontaneously pick up garbage in public, share your talents with non-profits, or start your own shoe drive! Again, my All-Star contact Gabe is 15, and all I am hoping to do is to inspire people in their 20/30s to give…but Mr.50Give I am so busy, I am broke, what’s the point – all could be true, so at least I would be thankful if you share this blog entry with friends. Give Running started a small ripple in the name of positivity which has RUN wild: 100 shoes to 10,000 shoes donated in about 4 years…lace-up!
Start Your Own Shoe Collection:
“To give less than your best, is to give away the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine