Man collects sneakers for Guatemala

Instead of kicking your old sneakers to the back of a closet, a San Rafael man is asking for your help. ABC7 News looks into why he hopes to gather 10,000 pairs of shoes.

In each pile of shoes, Mission Athletica founder Edgar Hernandez sees a mountain of potential. He grew up in Guatemala and saw firsthand the country's civil war.

"I used to run in races in Guatemala, for 10 years," Hernandez said. He ran for 10 years with only two pairs of shoes. "I became an expert (in fixing) them."

Now he hopes to help the impoverished youth of his home country by donating 10,000 pairs of second-hand shoes.

"There's a limit as to what somebody can do as a hobby," Art Boudreault said.

Boudreault helped Hernandez form a nonprofit called Mission Athletica. They're asking Bay Area running stores to collect donations.

"He just came in and picked up about 120 shoes," said Peter Van Camerik.

For elite runners, the shoes are shot.

These are good for a year for somebody else," said Van Camerik.

The shoes that are nearly new will be given to runners in Guatemala and the rest of the shoes that are more worn down will be cleaned up and also handed out.

It will cost about $20,000 to ship the shoes. That's money Hernandez doesn't have, but plans to raise. He sees Guatemala as the start of a mission to re-sole Central America.

When asked if he felt like a hero, Hernandez said, "Not yet. Maybe in 10 years."

  • Monetary donations can be made by mailing checks to:
    Mission Athletica
    C/O Marin Link
    5800 Northgate Mall, Suite 250
    San Rafael, CA 94903

  • Used shoes can be donated at both ArchRival stores in Mill Valley and San Anselmo and at S.A. Elite Sports Authority in Corte Madera. Shoes can also be taken to Mission Athletica's warehouse at 64 Louise St. in San Rafael.
  • Related Topics:
    charityrunningsportssports equipmentrecyclingu.s. & worldSan Rafael
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