Rise of the Phoenix

Arizona, Events, Phoenix

Rise of the Phoenix

No Comments 26 January 2010

Race Day Morning
Race Day Morning

It didn’t take the runners 500 years to rise up and breathe life into charity at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona marathon and 1/2; they did it in three days. Give Your Sole received over 500 pairs of shoes throughout the weekend’s convention and racing events, which are already helping those less fortunate in the Phoenix area.

This was our first big event of 2010 and it didn’t disappoint. Our weekend started early Friday morning with a news segment on Sonoran Living, ABC – KNXV Phoenix local. Brett put his camera “shyness” aside and sent forth our message in crystal clear fashion. We were also able to gain the support of Miss Arizona, USA 2010 – Brittany Bell who happened to be in the studio audience that morning.

Tom with Miss Arizona showing her support
Tom with Miss Arizona showing her support

Off to the Health and Fitness Expo at the convention center where we were eager to meet and spend some time with Brenda Combs. Before I continue though, a great, big, huge THANK YOU needs to go out to all those who helped volunteer while in Phoenix. Without your support (Russ, Melinda, Jack, John, Jake, Kyle, Peggy, Steve and Helen) we would have never been able to do all that we did that weekend.

The Volunteers rocking the booth!
The Volunteers rocking the booth!

Imagine waking up one day to find yourself lying in an alley, not knowing how you got there, it’s hot – you’re confused, hungry and hurting. Looking around, all you see is broken glass, needles and sharp stones lining all paths leading you to more familiar grounds. You gather yourself to get back on your feet to walk to, well, walk to anywhere but there. It’s then you realize that if you’re going to take those necessary steps, you’re going to have to do so barefoot; someone has stolen your shoes. I’d like you to meet Brenda Combs.  One could learn a lifetime of lessons in spending sixty minutes with Brenda and her son Mycole as we did Friday afternoon, but it simply wasn’t enough time to capture her amazing story. More on that later…..

Convention bound – it was the first event of 2010 both Brett and I were able to attend and it was great to feed off each other’s energy and passion for purpose in Give Your Sole. We met some incredible people throughout the weekend. Some believed so deeply in what we were doing, they asked to wear a Give Your Sole t-shirt during their run of the marathon on Sunday.

Tom with Give Your Sole supporter Debbie
Tom with Give Your Sole supporter Debbie

Lunch with Team World Vision – Comrades in training, a heartfelt driven group of individuals whose compassion and cause goes beyond words.

These boys mean business when it comes to making a difference
These boys mean business when it comes to making a difference

Saturday morning we were able to meet with Brenda again and her husband Tony Carter through a retracing of steps where they were both homeless over ten years ago, from the 7th Avenue Bridge where hope was lost to the shoeless alley where hope was miraculously found.

Brenda and Tony
Brenda and Tony

It’s no wonder she is the ambassador of inspiration for Grand Canyon University, she has truly walked through many hardships and become a stronger individual because of these journeys.

While we’re on the subject of miracles, imagine if everyone that stopped by our expo booth on Friday, did so with a pledge to come back on Saturday with a few pairs of shoes to donate. Now imagine someone actually coming back with over thirty-five pairs. Thank you Robbie Sittman! A perfect lead into the marathon on Sunday, early morning – chill in the air, a grand setting for a “giving” day. Charity does not discriminate; neither does misfortune, homelessness, hope or guidance. This is what was shown to us throughout the weekend. Our gratitude goes out to all those who donated. After the race ended and over 500 shoes were gathered, it was time to call it a day. We were privileged to one more gift before leaving though, Brett noticed three big bags of runners clothes near a dumpster that were collected and left for trash. Certainly ten loads of wash would be worth the effort in picking them up to be donated with the collected shoes!

I met Nicole Pena, Shawn McCullam and Brenda at the Phoenix Rescue Mission on Tuesday to take part in giving the shoes to those in need. Though most of the recipients were a bit shy to the video camera, the images of gratitude they left with me will far outreach any words they might have spoken.

Nicole and Shawn from Phoenix Rescue Mission
Nicole and Shawn from Phoenix Rescue Mission

After all, isn’t integrity doing what’s right when no one is looking or more importantly when one needs no proof of what has been done.

Phoenix Rescue Mission

Phoenix, Rescue Missions

Phoenix Rescue Mission

4 Comments 05 January 2010

est. 1952

est. 1952

The Phoenix Rescue Mission was founded in 1952 by six businessmen from the Phoenix area. In the beginning, they ministered to migrant workers and vagrants. “Homelessness” was not yet a term that was associated with persons who had unfortunate circumstances.  Well, today “Homelessness” is a term and one that many people know but also fail to acknowledge.  The Phoenix Rescue Mission is working hard to change the way people think about such term. Give Your Sole is fortunate to be working with them as the recipients of all the shoes we collect at this years P.F. Changs Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and 1/2 taking place the weekend of January 15-17.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission has many programs. They range from addiction recovery, family outreach, homeless services and more.  For the month of December the shelter provided beds for 3,627 people, served 23,560 meals, handed out 4,824 food boxes, 6,350 bottles of water and 179 pairs of shoes.

From talking with my contact at the shelter, shoes are a major need that will get used.  This is where you get to make a difference! Whether you reside in the Phoenix area or happen to be traveling to the event I encourage you to bring your old shoes and come visit our booth at the expo or seek us out on race day near the finish line area and donate those shoes.  Not only will you have purged your closet of some clutter but in the process you will have replenished some hope to a person in need.


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