Tag archive for "homeless"

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
AGRM stage1

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,


Founder of Give Your Sole

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.

Running LA? Then Donate Your Shoes!

Events, Los Angeles

Running LA? Then Donate Your Shoes!

No Comments 16 March 2011

According to the Business Leaders Task Force on Homeless report, “Home For Good”, there are 48,000 homeless on any given night in Los Angeles County.

I guess you could say we have 48,000 reasons to be focused on collecting shoes at this years Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss.  With over 30,000 runners and 100,000 or more visiting the expo we hope to collect an incredible amount of shoes that will be donated to Union Rescue Mission.

Here’s how it breaks down:

San Fernando Valley – 3,618 homeless

West LA – 5.538 homeless

South Bay – 7,863 homeless

South LA – 8,514 homeless

East LA – 4,517 homeless

Central LA – 11,093 homeless

San Gabriel Valley – 3,924 homeless

Antelope Valley – 2,419

The time to donate is NOW. LA needs your shoes! Donate at LA Marathon this weekend! Here’s where.

Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities in the world. Let’s make sure we help take care of those calling it home, even if they don’t have one.

Thank you.

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!

Chicago Rock ‘n’ Rollers Unite!

Chicago, Chicago, Events, Rescue Missions

Chicago Rock ‘n’ Rollers Unite!

No Comments 27 July 2010

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Illinois, to some is considered, “The Windy City”,  “Chi-Town, “The Chill”, “Chicagoland”, “The City of Broad Shoulders”, and even “New Gotham”.  To others living below the poverty level it’s considered just another place to survive.  The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless reports that there are 21,000 homeless people in Chicago on any given night.  Men. Women. Children. Families.

Give Your Sole hopes to alleviate some of the stress involved for these families when having to decide how to spend what money they do have. That is why we are excited to be partnering again with Breakthrough Urban Ministries and donating to them the shoes we collect from the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon Health and Fitness Expo.

Some of the shoes collected at the 2009 Chicago Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon

Over the past seventeen years, Breakthrough Urban Ministries has provided sanctuary to more than 10,000 homeless people in Chicago seeking shelter from the effects of poverty and addiction.

For seven years, Breakthrough Urban Ministries has provided a network of support to over 500 children and their families seeking hope for a better future.

Each year, Breakthrough Urban Ministries serves…

64,000 meals to homeless men and women.

240 homeless men and women who find safe harbor in Breakthrough’s shelters.

120 homeless women by providing 24/7 shelter and free health care to those without insurance or Medicaid.

I’d like to thank Arloa Sutter , the leader and founder of Breakthrough Urban Ministries, for all her and her team does to partner with Give Your Sole making this such a great event for both parties.

Being born in Central Illinois I’m always excited to be able to work with organizations in Chicago and those who want to give back to their hometowns. That is why for this event we are fortunate to also partner with the Luol Deng Foundation founded by Professional Chicago Basketball star Luol Deng.  While our focus continues to be on those domestically who find themselves homeless or in need, we also realize that many across the globe face many similar, if not worse, circumstances.  Recently, Adam Andre, the director of the Luol Deng Foundation, returned from a trip with Luol to his hometown in Sudan where he saw first hand the degree of poverty only few can imagine.  Being friends with Adam and him knowing we would be in town collecting shoes at this event he reached out to me in hopes of being the recipient of whatever we could offer from our collection efforts. That is why I decided since we would be collecting for 3 days that we would donate the shoes we collect on race day to help their cause.  I’d like to thank Adam and Luol for thinking of us when they saw a need for shoes and having the desire to work together in hopes of providing much needed shoes to those living in poverty in the Sudan region.  We are happy the timing worked out for us to be able to form such a partnership during this event.

I’ve come to realize that as much pain as we see, we aren’t going to be able to help everyone not only in our great nation but those abroad. However, seeing these things will never stop us from trying and if a friend of mine has a heart for wanting to help others, I’m not about to stand in his way should he come to me. Knowing the tremendous hearts that all the Rock ‘n’ Roll runners and participants have from doing so many events I’d like to thank you in advance for the donations you are about to be make that will not only unite our three great organizations but more importantly unite those who “have” with those who “have not”.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

A Hardly Normal Encounter


A Hardly Normal Encounter

1 Comment 21 April 2010

From left to right: Stephan (from Path Achieve), Tim Daley (volunteer with GYS), Mark Horvath (invisiblepeople.tv), Myself

From left to right: Stephan (from Path Achieve), Tim Daley (volunteer with GYS), Mark Horvath (invisiblepeople.tv), Myself

When I started Give Your Sole almost a year ago I joined Twitter in hopes of meeting other people who make it a point in their life to do what they can to make a difference in this world.  I started to follow many different charitable organizations and those who run them.  I came across a guy who went by the handle @hardlynormal and had Animal from the Muppets as his avatar photo.  @hardlynormal runs a site called invisiblepeople.tv that tells the stories, via video, of people across this nation who are homeless. The combination of his handle, Animal and his site told me this was a guy who wasn’t worried about ruffling feathers when it came to bringing attention to the biggest issue our country, and others, will face this century – homelessness and poverty.

I began to tweet and re-tweet between those I followed.  Eventually @hardlynormal and I connected on the phone but missed a few opportunities to meet.  That all changed this past week.  I collected 180 pairs from some of my Southern California donors: Competitor Group, Rehab United and The Design People. I knew that @hardlynormal worked a lot with Path Achieve in Glendale.  Path Achieve works to help people who are homeless get back on track and place them in permanent housing.  I got in touch with @hardlynormal and shared with him I had 180 pairs I needed to donate and wanted to meet up with him at Path Achieve.  To my luck, he was all for it!

A good friend of mine and GYS volunteer, Tim Daley, and I loaded my truck with all the shoes and headed to Glendale.  We arrived a bit early, which I planned on, in hopes of catching @hardlynormal doing one of his many webinars on social media.  Sure enough, he sat down at a table in the middle of the shelter minutes after my arrival and began.  A man on a mission.  Bringing awareness to the homeless issue all through use of social media.  The webinar lasted about a half hour.  As the webinar continued Tim and Stephan, a Path Achieve Case Manager, began to sort the shoes by sizes as our next step would be to hit the streets of Glendale California in search of people in need of shoes.

As we hopped in the van and set out through the streets of Glendale to hand out shoes, you would have thought Stephan and @hardlynormal were running for Mayor.  They knew every person on the street, by name!  “Oh, there’s Bill.  That’s where Jim stays. That’s where Ellie sleeps. Man, I hate to see John out here again, just wish he would come into the shelter.”  This went on the whole time we were out. The shoes give Stephan a reason to approach each person which helps create that first step in building a relationship. If Stephan can get a conversation going he will do everything he can to try and help that person off the street and into Path Achieve so they can help them find permanent housing.

These fit better

These fit better

The gentleman adjusting his ball cap in this picture was in dire need of some shoes and we asked him his size.  He said he was a 10 or 10 1/2. Luckily we had both sizes with us but I also grabbed an 11 (just so happened to be a pair of shoes Tim donated) out of the back of the van just in case. First we tried the 10 1/2 and they were too tight.  Next was the 11, Tims pair, and they fit like a glove. The reason I share this with you is many people can’t remember their shoe size.  In some cases it has been years since they tried on a new pair of shoes.  Either they can’t remember the size of their feet or their feet are so swollen from walking all day, every day, all year, that their normal size doesn’t fit anymore.

Dottie found a pair

Dottie found a pair

Next we came across Dottie. From @hardlynormal’s reaction when we turned the corner and saw her on the street you would have thought he just won the lottery. He was so filled with joy he couldn’t stop shouting in the van, “There’s Dottie, there’s Dottie!”  We pulled the van up next to her and @hardlynormal jumped out of the van so filled with excitement he almost got himself attacked by Dottie’s dog.  My first thought was, how tough it would be to have a dog on the street; but it was obvious she took good care of it and he took good care of her.  As @hardlynormal and Stephan talked with Dottie, Tim and I dug through the shoes to find her a pair.  Again, it took 3 pairs to finally find the right size for her.  We offered her another pair but she insisted we keep them for someone else who might need them.  Dottie is someone I won’t soon forget and I quickly realized what @hardlynormal saw in her. Then again, @hardlynormal sees something special in everyone he comes in contact with.

The Poor. The Needy. The Less Fortunate. Call it whatever makes you comfortable or uncomfortable for that matter, but at least recognize it and do something.  That’s what Mark Horvath, aka @hardlynormal, did.  So he picked up a video camera and is showing the world what it means to be homeless, ways to make a difference and what it looks like to be relentless in getting the message out there.

Thanks Mark for sharing with me your passion, your knowledge, and that we can always do more. That we must do more.

Rescue Missions, San Diego

Blessed Partnership

No Comments 22 April 2009

From left to right (myself; Herb Johnson, President of San Diego Rescue Mission; Jenna Stauffer, Event Coordinator

From left to right (myself; Herb Johnson, President of San Diego Rescue Mission; Jenna Stauffer, Event Coordinator

Today I jumped in my car and set off to go meet up with the folks in charge of the San Diego Rescue Mission.  Give Your Sole is thrilled to be donating all the shoes collected at this years San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon to the mission.  Upon my arrival I found a parking spot right out front and fed the meter with what quarters I could find between my seats and under the mat…..hope it’s enough…gotta feeling it won’t be!

I was greeted by Jenna and Mark; both who were extremely kind.  I could tell right away they had found their calling as they made me feel at home.  I can only imagine they do the same for those that come in to escape the streets for a night.  Every night 60+ women and children come in for food and shelter and the staff at the SD Rescue Mission are ready for them. Once a hospital, the building is perfect for those that qualify for their year long program to have private rooms.

After an hour or more of taking the tour and visiting with Herb and the staff, I knew that Give Your Sole was blessed to be teaming up with them.   I also knew my quarters most likely had run out and the ticket on my car confirmed it…..$30 for an hour and a half to visit with some wonderful people who are no doubt making a difference in the world and their community…..worth every penny!

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