Before you go to Zappos.com for new sneakers, consider how local businesses like Fleet Feet Sports are impacting our community for the better.
In our January/February 2012 issue, I talked about the impact of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression on our community, specifically our nonprofit organizations. I asked our local businesses and our readers to consider how they might help and pledged that our local publishing company would do more in 2012. We’ll also be spotlighting a number of nonprofit programs editorially throughout the year.
What follows is a story about one small business and how it is making a difference in our community – Fleet Feet Sports.
“I don’t know what we would do without the people at Fleet Feet,” says Amy Waller, director of Student Outreach Services, a program that provides shoes to needy middle- and high-school aged Roanoke City students. “They’ve provided dozens and dozens of the highest quality shoes for our homeless, transient and economically disadvantaged students. One homeless high school student was so happy he cried.”
Daria Goode, director of development for the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia, echoes Waller.
“Fleet Feet collects donations in exchange for free gift wrapping at Christmas, and for three years has donated that money to the BGCSWVA,” she says. “They’ve also donated items for our annual dinner and golf tournament. But the biggest thing is that they were so key with our first race. Everything from getting the word out to times and bags, they were there to dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T.’”
Fleet Feet Sports owners Blaine and Robin Lewis say giving back is a blessing.
“We are grateful for the ability to give,” Robin says. “We’ve realized it’s not just about us. It’s about people like Amy Waller of Student Outreach Services who deserve all the credit in the world for what they do.”
Add it all up and Fleet Feet touched more than half a dozen charitable organizations and raised more than $12,600 in donations in 2011. Here’s a breakdown:
• Raised $3,479 in donations for The Turning Point Women’s and Children’s Domestic Abuse Center and the BGCSWVA.
• Donated new products worth $4,128 to students in the Roanoke City Schools and to Second Helpings of the Rescue Mission.
• Donated $4,000 of New Balance products to the Rescue Mission’s Drumstick Dash through vendor relationships.
• Donated $1,050 in gift certificates to numerous non-profit and civic events.
• Collected over 100 large boxes of previously worn shoes for the Rescue Mission.
• Collected toiletries for Turning Point.
• Collected many large boxes of non-perishable food items for Manna Ministries through a Christmas Food Drive.
Can the Lewises keep it up?
“We plan to seek new ways to give more in 2012,” Robin says.
Next time you need running shoes think about Fleet Feet and all the other local businesses that give back to our community.
Have your own story about giving back? Email it to email@example.com and we’ll try to use it online or in an upcoming issue.