As early as the 1980s, Mike Robinson saw a need to collect donated running shoes at Running Etc. in Norfolk, VA.
Initially a grassroots effort that supplied local high school coaches with running shoes for athletes in need, the floodgates opened when Robinson publicized the shoe collection on his website around the turn of the century. Suddenly, Robinson was handing bags of running shoes to local coaches as well as homeless ministries around Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where he opened a second store in 2004.
While Running Etc. continues directing donated shoes to local needs, the shop also sends a substantial size of its collection to the MORE Foundation Group.
In addition to devoting the collected shoes to reuse, MORE supports reforestation projects, agroforestry training programs and carbon-offset initiatives such as the One Million Tree project currently establishing nurseries in Ghanaian schoolyards.
“People know we do the shoe collection and they support it enthusiastically,” says Robinson, who opened Running Etc. in 1986. “To know we’re helping others and our environment is important.”