RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – A Richmond-based nonprofit is turning running shoes into living shoes.
Shood partners with local businesses to collect, clean and repair old running shoes and donate them to folks in need. The shoes the members of the John Marshall track team are wearing are just a fraction of the thousands of shoes the nonprofit gives away every year.
“We don’t have the same funds or opportunities our kids don’t have, you know, that ability to just go to a store and drop 200 bucks on a pair of nice trainers,” John Marshall High track team assistant coach Cary Beth Nelson said.
Nelson remembers those days, before the non-profit passed out sneakers to team members who may not have had any.
“We have kids coming out here to practice in Air Forces or basketball shoes or whatever they have and they get injured so quickly,” Nelson told 8News in an interview.
Shood founder Robin Telfian said, “it’s just magical” to see the look on kids’ faces when she laces them up for them for the first time.
“We put the shoes on the kids and we saw them run off in them, and it was one of those moments were like, ‘we need to do something with this one,'” Telfian said.
The idea started five years ago when someone at a soup kitchen Telfian was volunteering at came up to her.
Telfian said, “He asked the question, ‘I wonder what happens to runner’s shoes after a big race?'”
From there, Telfian, her volunteers and community partners like Fleet Feet owner Jeff Wells are setting up mini shoe stores and giving them out in soup kitchens and food pantries.
They’ve now also partnered with Richmond Public Schools, giving new or restored shoes to students at five inner city high schools, like John Marshall track team member Leslie Green.
“As Usain Bolt said plenty of times, hard work can get you a lot of places, but also a strong mental will also get you a lot of places as well,” Green said.
He’s grateful for the kicks, ready for them to help him get to the top.
“Look out for Leslie Green this year for indoor and outdoor,” Green said. “Definitely going to states.”
Shood always needs volunteers, sponsors and donors. Learn how to help out here.
The nonprofit plans to expand to Virginia Beach in the near future, helping people in need in the Tidewater area get shoes on their feet.