AGRM Conference 2015

Events, Inspiration, Rescue Missions

AGRM Conference 2015

No Comments 31 May 2015

agrm_logo_cmyk-largeGive Your Sole was honored to be a part of this years Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) annual conference taking place in Bellevue Washington May 27th-30th. AGRM has been on the sidewalks and in the face of what to many has been a faceless problem. AGRM-member facilities have a reputation for being havens of hope for all who enter.

Every year, 300 missions serve nearly 50 million meals, provide more than 20 million nights of lodging, bandage the emotional wounds of thousands of abuse victims, and graduate 18,000- plus individuals from addiction recovery programs.

Our partnership with AGRM is extremely valuable to our process of helping those in need. AGRM has a member organization with facilities and programs in most of the cities where the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series take place. Some of this
weeks highlights included:

  • Met with many interested rescue missions in cities where the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series takes place: LA, AZ, Philly, Nashville, Portland, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, and Virginia Beach
  • Were able to have a pair of Brooks shoes as the centerpiece for every table in the conference
  • Were able to share with all the attendees the importance of GYS’s relationship with Rock ‘n’ Roll and how it contributes to our success and coming to their city
  • With the help of our Washington state partner, Redeeming Soles, we were able to share the story of Brooks donating 3000 pairs and from Costco 1000 pairs to Washington homeless
  • Talked with churches who were in the line of Rock ‘n’ Roll routes to create a plan ahead of the race to reach out to their congregations to get involved in shoe drives and creating GYS running teams

It was an incredible conference showcasing the reach we have and how we can bring value to their rescue missions and communities.

Up next: The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Expo in Seattle, WA – Thursday, June 11 – Saturday, June 13. We look forward to teaming up with our post event “feet on the street” Redeeming Soles at the Expo and Race.  Following on the heels of the AGRM conference we anticipate a record number of donations at this event!

centerpiece AGRM
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Re-Launching Give Your Sole

Events, Inspiration, Seattle

Re-Launching Give Your Sole

No Comments 09 May 2015

GYS logo final RnR_MarathonSeriesLogo_Horiz2

Dear Friends of Give Your Sole –

I have really missed you all. Thanks to all of you, we were able to accomplish so much in the first four years of the GYS launch.

In the last two years a lot has happened to cause my hiatus from GYS. A couple of full time jobs, families to care for and support, and moving from California to Washington put GYS on the backburner.

Today, I am happy to announce that we are going to take another run at it in a big way! We are blessed to continue our great relationship with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®. This has the potential of eventually putting us in 26 cities across the country throughout the year starting with Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle in June!

We have also advanced our conversations with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM). Our aim is for AGRM to be the primary beneficiary of the shoes we collect at each Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race. This ensures the people who need them most get a pair….or two.

There are several other exciting opportunities on the horizon which I will share when I am able. This gives us hope and confidence that the dream you helped birth can and will become a reality.

Our love for helping those in need has remained deep in our hearts. Together, we can help those less fortunate across the United States.

Let’s run these streets and change lives together!

All things good,

Brett

Founder of Give Your Sole

Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Marathon Shoe collection

Chicago, Chicago, Events, Rescue Missions, video

Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Marathon Shoe collection

No Comments 07 August 2012

YouTube Preview Image

Our first event with Allstate Life Insurance was a huge success. Together with Allstate Life Insurance and Shea McClellin of the Chicago Bears we collected 400 pairs of shoes for Breakthrough Urban Ministries in Chicago! Next stop Boston!

Thanksgiving Celebration

Los Angeles, Rescue Missions, video

Thanksgiving Celebration

No Comments 16 December 2011

This video is from our time spent at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in LA during their Annual Thanksgiving Celebration.  It was an emotional day for everyone and one that we were grateful to be a part of.

Redeeming Seattle

Events, Rescue Missions, Seattle, Seattle

Redeeming Seattle

No Comments 29 June 2011

Great picture of the Frogboxes donated to collect shoes in.

Seattle continues to be a city filled with incredible people doing incredible things for others. Last year at the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon we had an amazing time and were able to collect shoes for the Rescue Mission in downtown Seattle.  Not only were we able to capture some great video but upon handing out the shoes we collected at the rescue mission I met a certain individual who I now consider a friend.  That friend is Scott Sowle.

Scott lived on the streets for many years battling his addiction to drugs and alcohol until he found his way to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission. It is there that he changed his life and now makes it his life’s goal to help others. Last year as we were handing out the shoes from the race to people on the street, Scott approached me and shared with me that he wanted to start his own shoe collection center for the Puget Sound area. He asked if he could call me and discuss it further. Of course I said he could reach out to me anytime, all the while thinking I might never hear from him again since he lived at the shelter.  I’m excited to share with you that at this years event we teamed up with Scott’s new organization, Redeeming Soles, as the recipient of all the shoes we collected.  Scott has done amazing things since we last met in building Redeeming Soles and is making an incredible difference in Washington. He provides shoes to numerous shelters, abuse centers and kids facilities facing poverty in the Puget Sound area. Scott is known to many on the streets as the “shoe guy” or “Scooter”. To me he is an inspiration. Not only is Scott Redeeming Soles but he is Redeeming Seattle and really making a difference in the lives he touches. I know he did mine.

Thank you Scott.

From left to Right: Jeff Hill from Frogbox who donated the collection bins, Jo Anne Drewry from Redeeming Soles and Scott Sowle Founder of Redeeming Soles

Events, Las Vegas, Rescue Missions, Vegas

Something To Believe In…..

No Comments 17 December 2010

I drive by the homeless sleeping on a cold dark street
Like bodies in an open grave
Underneath the broken old neon sign
That used to read JESUS SAVES

A mile away live the rich folks
And I see how they’re living it up
While the poor they eat from hand to mouth
The rich drinkin’ from a golden cup

And it just makes me wonder
Why so many lose, and so few win

Song: Something To Believe In

Artist: Poison

When this song came out in 1990 I was 2 years out of high school.  Seems like only yesterday.  From the time I was 16 and could drive, my best friend and I would make sack lunches and take them to all the homeless people who congregated around City Hall in Santa Ana, Ca. and spend time talking with them listening to their stories.  My best friend, who I have known since 5th grade and still hang with today, played the guitar ever since I can remember and learned to play this song.  To us it meant something. Still does.

Fast forward to present day. I now operate a public charity that strives to help those in need, only rather than giving away sack lunches we give away shoes.  I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to work with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and attend a great number of their events where we collect shoes from all the runners and then donate them to a local rescue mission in the city where the race is held.  Two weeks ago we attended the Zappos Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & 1/2 where the man himself, Bret Michaels, sang this song.  To be standing there hearing this song live while we collected shoes for the homeless was beyond incredible.  Then to top it off I had the opportunity to meet Bret after the show.  While the meeting was brief, due to the line of waiting fans, mostly women of course, it was one I won’t soon forget.  He was extremely nice and very receptive to what we are doing. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take him up on his offer of being the recipient of shoes he gets from a relationship he has with a major footwear company, as well as catching another show down the road.

Thanks Bret for giving me and millions of other fans Something To Believe In!

Rockin with Bret Michaels

…And give me something to believe in
If there’s a Lord above
And give me something to believe in
Oh, Lord arise

Denver Rescue Mission

Denver, Rescue Missions, video

Denver Rescue Mission

No Comments 10 October 2010

When I heard about the Competitor Group bringing their Rock ‘n’ Roll race series to Denver for the Inaugural Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon I was excited….for many reasons.  To start with, my Father-in-Law lives in Denver and my Sister-in-Law and her husband live in Boulder, instant volunteers!  More than that though, I had heard great things about the Denver Rescue Mission and was now going to have the opportunity to work with them.

The Denver Rescue Mission meets people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens.  The Denver Rescue Mission operates five facilities throughout Metro Denver and Northern Colorado. Their goal has been the same for the past 118 years – to serve the needs of the poor and homeless through emergency services, rehabilitation, transitional and permanent housing, and community outreach.  Last year, the Denver Rescue Mission served 659,854 meals, provided 171,480 nights of shelter, provided 185 tons of clothing, and placed 253 families into permanent housing. The team from the mission shared some alarming facts with me:

On any given night, there are 11,061 homeless men, women and children in Metro Denver.  Of the over 11,061 homeless people in the Denver metro area, approximately:

• 46.5% are people in households with children

• 26.8% are children and teens

• 13.0% are veterans

• 44.5% are experiencing their first episode of homelessness

• 4.5%  are chronically homeless

When survey respondents were asked to indicate “all that apply” regarding reasons for their homelessness, the following were the top 10 reasons listed:

- Lost job 34.7%

- High housing costs (rent or mortgage) 31.2%

- Alcohol or substance abuse 29.5%

- Relationship or family breakup 19.1%

- Mental Illness 16.2%

- Eviction/Foreclosure 12.6%

- Illness 10.5%

- Domestic violence 9.9%

- Discharged from jail 8.0%

- Legal 8%

As I sit in the comforts of  my own home and type this post my heart breaks from a couple of these numbers really standing out.  The fact that roughly 47% are households with children and that 45% are experiencing their first episode of homeless is tragic. Obviously lack of finances or the loss of employment have played a large role in why many have found themselves in this situation.  This is all more the reason we need to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible.  By doing so we can lessen the burden of the mother whose children need shoes because their feet are growing so fast the shoes they have don’t fit. We can ease the pain of a father who is out of work and has to decide how to spend what money he has on either food or shoes for his family.  We can help those who know that winter is only days away along with the freezing cold.  Shoes for these people can mean survival.

Whether you are running the marathon or not, chances are you have shoes you can donate.  Make it this weekend and come donate them to us here.  Let’s make this inaugural race event one to remember not only because it takes place in one of the most beautiful locations in the country but because Denver came together and gave it their best, they gave it their hearts and they gave their shoes!




Give Your Sole + Union Gospel Mission

Rescue Missions, Seattle, video

Give Your Sole + Union Gospel Mission

No Comments 25 September 2010

CityTeam Ministries

Events, Rescue Missions, San Jose

CityTeam Ministries

No Comments 25 September 2010

We are excited to be heading back to San Jose for the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon October 3rd.  Last year we collected 500 pairs of shoes that all went to help those in need in the local San Jose community. This year all the shoes we collect will be donated to CityTeam Ministries.

In San Jose, CityTeam Ministries is providing hot meals, safe shelter, showers, and clean clothing to this city’s homeless population. CityTeam also has a wonderful staff that care for and meet the needs of the youth and families in San Jose. A recovery program is in place for those men and women that are on a road of destruction from drugs and alcohol. CityTeam Ministries also distributes food boxes, backpacks filled with school supplies, clothing and household goods and furniture to families in need throughout the south Bay Area.

Thousands of people in the San Jose area woke up today hungry and homeless. For the poorest of the poor among us, this is real life. Living under bridges, rummaging through trash cans for scraps of food and desperately searching for other ways to survive. Many believe they are a throw-away society.

The CityTeam Rescue Mission restores hope, faith and dignity to the homeless who are easily overlooked in the community. Every night  homeless guests at the Rescue Mission are provided with food, a hot shower, toiletries, clean clothes, and a freshly laundered bed. A hot meal is often the first step to helping a homeless person get off the streets.

Even though running is considered an individual sport, at the San Jose Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon this year you can be part of a team, CityTeam! Make sure to gather as many pairs as you can, men’s, women’s and children’s, and donate them at the Health and Fitness Expo.  They always say there is strength in numbers, let’s prove it to those in need in San Jose by working together and donating another 500 pairs!

One Pair for Gina.

Chicago, Chicago, Events, Rescue Missions

One Pair for Gina.

No Comments 15 September 2010

From Left to Right: Tom Wicus, East Coast Director of Ops; My Mom; MacCallister Byrd, my older son; Me; Jackson Byrd, my youngest son; Melinda Byrd, my wife; Lindsey Nagy, GYS Board Advisor

Chicago started like any other event; me recruiting basically my whole family as volunteers to help collect shoes from all the runners and participants at the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  Also joining us for this event were Tom and Lindsey from New York.  The team was assembled and ready to go.  All we needed now were for the people to come through the expo and donate their shoes.  Odd thing was, the expo was strangely slow for us.  The slowest expo to date as a matter of fact. What we collected in two days we normally collect in a half a day.  Not all was lost and to better explain, let me back up a few days.

I landed in Chicago a week before the event feeling positive knowing how much Chicago loves running.  Even though Chicago loves running, I knew I had to get the word out about us being at the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in hopes of collecting as many pairs of shoes as possible for Breakthrough Urban Ministries.  What better way to get the word out, with no marketing budget, than good ‘ole social networking! The next few nights I was a Tweeting and Facebook crazed, non-profit peddling machine.  Anytime someone mentioned #RnRCHI on Twitter I was tweeting them.  Anytime someone posted something about the event on Facebook I was replying; all in hopes of getting the word out about donating their shoes.  I am constantly amazed by the connections that can be made from such valuable social networking tools.

Tom and I with Jason and Molly Mesnick

Through using Twitter I was able to meet Jason and Molly Mesnick from The Bachelor.  They both showed immediate interest in what we were doing.  What a blessing it was to have them reach out to me and ask how they could help.  Not only did they start spreading the news to over 40k of their followers but they also offered to come work the booth for awhile on Saturday.  It was having them hang out with us at the booth and in hindsight, even though the expo was slow for us, I was glad because it gave me time to get to know Jason and Molly.  Each of them have tremendous hearts for helping others.  Jason even has his own non-profit called Project Parachute that focuses on helping single parents in America by providing childcare scholarships and establishing single parent support programs across the nation.  After spending a couple hours together with them and getting to know one another I’m sure we will be teaming up again in hopes of helping the lives of those in need.

Ending the day with only 125 pairs I wasn’t quite sure what to expect come race day and to be quite honest, I was disappointed.  That’s what’s nice about having such a supportive family and team.  They always know how to keep things positive and focus on what is being accomplished – Helping others. Whether we collect another 125 pairs on race day or one pair, the fact was, we had collected 125 pairs for people in Chicago who might not otherwise have any.

Race Day. 6 am. It’s quiet. People are gear checking their clothes across from our booth. The race begins. 8:30 am comes and all heck breaks loose! Within three hours we take in 350 pairs and run out of flip flops to give people. People were coming by the booth, tossing shoes behind us, to the sides of us, in piles! It was awesome!  Total count for three days – 475 Pairs!  The 2nd largest collection to date at one event for us.  The message was clear, our job is not to worry about when and where the shoes will come from, but to do our due diligence in the work and be ready when it happens.

After all, it was just one pair that made a difference to Gina, not 475.

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