Tuesday, July 21, 2009

bigger than me, shoes for africa…

I have no idea what has gotten into me lately. I don’t know if it’s being 30 and having nothing more to worry about other than how fast I can get this summer, or a self-serving two week vacation. But lately, I feel like a life sucking waste of humanity. Yes I know that is absolutely dramatic, but come on, if you are new to my blog you need to know this, I am dramatic.

So in waste of humanity news, I’ve been thinking that my life is so self-serving that it almost feeds the feeling of being a worthless human being. I have so much in my life, but instead of looking at what I have, I look at what I don’t have. This has been a struggle for me for the past month, feeling so self serving, yet having so much. I am truly blessed in so many ways.

One day last week I realized that I am sort of a shallow yuppie-like waste of space, for so many reasons I don’t’ even want to list them here, it’s embarrassing really. And while I’m worrying about myself, some 16 year old rape victim in Africa is trying to figure out how to feed and clothe her baby.

Enter Fair Weather Runner, determined to no longer be a waste of space. I’ve been trying to think of ways to step outside myself, stop focusing on ME so much, and find a way to help others.

Then my sister sends an email out to friends and family, she and her husband are going to South Africa for vacation in a few weeks, but while there, they are stopping in Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls. They have decided to gather clothes to take with them for people in Zimbabwe. These people are desperate for clothing, especially for children.

Last night I started going through our closets (yes all three of them, full of clothes), I grabbed everything we haven’t worn in a year and stacked them in a pile. Then I stared at my seven pairs of old running shoes, and threw them on the pile (all but my marathon pair). This feeling alone was something I can’t even begin to explain. I got excited and had this wonderful feeling, of course in a round about self serving way (so screwed up, I know) it made me feel good to gather these things I didn’t need for these people I’ve never met.

It inspired me to email my running buddies this morning, asking them to contribute to my pile. To gather their running shoes, old clothes and for the mommy’s I know, asked for children’s items. Just in about an hour this morning I have had enough response from my amazing running buddies, that I’m worried my sister won’t be able to take all of the things I’ll be sending her.

Beyond the box I’m gathering for my sisters trip, I started thinking about how many of us have running shoes sitting in our closets. Hoarding them for memorabilia, or ‘just in case.’ Just like I have been. But there are so many people in Africa, and all over the world, in desperate need.

It inspired me to think deeper, think about how I could take my passion and use it to help. I stared to wonder what would happen if I asked local races if I could take a box so runners to bring their old shoes to donate. I could gather and gather old running shoes until I had a huge box to send to Shoes 4 Africa, or any other organization that distributes shoes around the world for the needy.

Then I thought, what if I simply started with my blog, asking runners to send me their shoes. What a difference we could make, and how much sacrifice would that take on our part? The answer for most of us is zero. Shipping cost, that is it. And a shipping cost that is likely cheaper than the lunch you will eat today, or the Starbucks you bought this morning.

In regard to this, I would like to announce the Fair Weather Runner Shoes for the World Drive (hey, I rarely go small, why limit ourselves to one country). I would like to extend an invitation for all of you runners who read my blog to sacrifice just ONE pair of your old running shoes. Send them to me, and in a month I’d like to send them to an organization that distributes them to those in need across the world.

If you would like to mail me a pair of your old running shoes, just comment on this post (so i can keep track of contributers) and email me at fairweatherrunner@gmail.com so I can send you my mailing address.


Cheers to being blessed runners who have the ability to help others.

19 comments:

IzzyBubbles said...

I think this is a fantastic idea and I'm definitely in...all those shoes that the hubs and I have laying around in closets need a better home. Nice work, FWR!

T. said...

I will check my closet and get back to you:) Great idea!!!

teacherwoman said...

Wow. what a great idea. I knew that there was an organization that you could send your used running shoes to and they would send them, but I think it is a great idea that you are doing this.

On a side note, I sometimes wonder if there is more that I could be doing. I work in a school that is heavily populated with refugees from Africa, brought over by the Lutheran Social Services (I believe). Every school year, our ELL teachers are scrambling to get more clothes, shoes, and towels (for swimming lesson) for these kids and their families. I am constantly wondering how I can help with this, especially through my blog. I am going to work on this!

I am going to ask around, see if there is anyone that wants to donate their shoes, and put together a box to send to you.. how does that sound? My parents and sister both run (and have tons of shoes) and I have quite a few friends that I am sure would be willing to donate their shoes as well...

feel free to email me with your mailing address and I will send you a pair of my shoes (or a few) at least! teacherwoman80 (at) gmail dot com.

rUntoNamAste said...

O-M-G! How incredibly awesome that we are both fund raising (or collection driving) for Shoe4Africa. They are an AMAZING organization and Toby, the founder and CEO, is very approachable. I emailed him to inquire about helping and he called me back. Yep, I know, I was pretty shocked too!

Right now, I am fundraising for their school building project in Kenya. If you're interested in teaming up for this cause let me know. I can also help with your shoe drive and act as a drop off point in the NY/NJ area, which is close to their office.

And no you're not being dramatic about this at all, because I too hit this realization a couple years ago and that led to the creation of my own non-profit organization. Good luck and you go girl!

X-Country2 said...

Oh, I am so IN! What a great idea.

rUntoNamAste said...

I think you'll surpass your goal by plenty! Email me at runtonamaste (at) gmail dot com

Let's get this started. Yippee!!!!!!!

teacherwoman said...

BTW, I just posted a link to this post for others to join in if they wish... just thought I would spread the word a little more!

Lacy said...

I've got like three or four pairs and they are yours! Thanks for doing this.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

great idea! i'll email for adress...

RunToFinish said...

ohh what a great thing to do!! i just took all my shoes to the local running store where they give them out to those in need. You rockstar you!!

D10 said...

Great idea. I know I have tons of sneakers collecting dust.

Oz Runner said...

shoot we just loaded up a bunch of clothes (shoes) to the goodwill last weekend...great idea, anytime you serve you come out ahead...

Ashley said...

GREAT IDEA, homie!!!!! LOVE IT!!!

Can I get you my shoes this weekend (if you come) or next week at lunch??

I'm going to email some peeps at work today too and see if they would be interested in donating - great work!

californiameaghan said...

jeremy gave some stuff to lance and kris already (i think?) but all my stuff is with him in LA anyways. sometime soon, when i get all my stuff back, i can mail you some shoes. he is sending the pod around the beginning of august.

you are amazing - one more reason for me to look up to you!

RunnuRMark said...

You are SO in for a stinky treat...I'm sure I can scrounge up a pair!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I highly doubt you are a "sucking waste of humanity" I still love you :)

Will look through my closet and see if I have anything acceptable.. I have rather stinky feet making it VERY unfair to those less fortunate. I would probably rather buy a new pair and send then lend mine.. Will keep you posted.

GREAT IDEA..

OK off to OVER-comment on Running Lawyer... If she does not want to post that is OK.. But not even dropping in to say hi...now that is just hurtful...

OKC...hmmmmm... Is that considered a destination Marathon???

Annette said...

Heard about your post from Dare to Tri (aka Teacherwoman). What a great idea. I always want to do something with my shoes, but didn't know where to donate. Nice!! Thanks for organizing this.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Awesome that you're doing this!! I think I saw the same organization at my marathon in May... but having moved in April, I gathered the shoes I no longer use and brought them to my local running store who also donate them... so I have none to offer right now, but will keep this in mind for next time! :)

Irish Cream said...

You are awesome. I love this. The boy and I probably have like 85 pairs of old running shoes between us. I will email you!