A message from our President, Terri Odell
Fall—it’s the best time of year to run. Beautiful trees, leaves that crunch under your feet and superb temperatures! Fall also brings us closer to the end of our year and gives us a time to reflect.
Annie’s Locker never ceases to amaze me! We started 2017 with some aspirations. We hoped to find a worthy recipient for our Annual Share a Pair campaign. We wanted to partner with our generous volunteers at the Rockford Rescue Mission who assist both men’s and women’s recovery groups to inspire them to seek fitness as a goal. We also wanted to declare our first “finisher” in our Laces to Races Program.
With 100% board participation and financial support from our generous donors we were able to do all those things and raise $10,000! This year’s Share A Pair campaign reached new heights. We equipped four local charities with running shoes, marching boots, and playground equipment for programs that would otherwise go without.
The generous financial donations to this years campaign will allow us to continue our programs.
• The “Locker”: We remain true to our original goal of providing shoes and clothing to anyone that requests these items through our website. This year we were able to support more than 40 requests for shoes, socks and workout attire. If we do not have the requested item in our locker, we purchase at a reasonable cost. In 2017, we spent $400 to equip people to lead healthier lives!
• Race Sponsorships: We draw inspiration from helping people complete races. You may have seen ladies from the Rockford Rescue Mission participate in a few races along with participants in our Laces to Races Program. In total, we spent $900 to send over 30 people to a race of their choice! (We do limit the requests to twice a year).
• Laces to Races: This program is a newer component of Annie’s Locker and led by Troy Skwor with assistance from Meredith Stoll. As participants work their way through the challenges of sobriety, Laces to Races is set up to help graduates transition better into our community. Through a short term YMCA membership, they can continue to work out, thus aiding in overcoming personal struggles, as well as meeting other people who could befriend and inspire them to reach their goals. The program provides necessary athletic shoes and requires participants to work out at least twice a week for all three months of membership.
• Rockford Rescue Mission: On a weekly basis, we invite volunteers to support and assist us as we work to help the residents of the Men’s and Women’s Life Recovery Programs with walking programs and other fitness related activities.
• Our Annual Share A Pair Campaign: We changed it up a bit this year and invited non profit organizations who work with underserved individuals in the community to apply for assistance so they could implement a fitness plan within their organization. We began the application process in March and selected our recipients in April. We still supplied shoes to organizations; we just spread it out to four worthy, smaller charities which allowed us to further our reach into the community to promote living a healthy lifestyle. With our assistance, they can begin to support our vision of improved physical fitness that can have a positive impact on all areas of peoples lives.
• YAVO: Youth Against Violence Organization is an active Marching and Drum Line that performs all around the area. They work with low- income students and families teaching them the skills of teamwork, fitness and respect. This was by far the neatest program we have ever served. We provided YAVO with proper marching boots that allowed them to perform in local parades marching up to 2 miles every time. They performed at our kickoff event on August 3 at Lucha Cantina.
• Rockford Day Nursery: We provided the school age children of this amazing program with proper gym shoes. 49 pairs to be exact and gave them the necessary funds to purchase basketball hoops, tether ball game along with assistance in playground markings for games.
As we begin to say goodbye to 2017 we are excited about 2018. It will mark our 10th year as an organization. What started out as collecting gently used shoes and clothing is now this amazing community minded charity. We could never have done it without the support of our awesome running community and our friends!
If you feel like this is something you’d like to be a part of please contact any board member or call Annie’s Locker at 815-312-6658. Everyone’s talents are appreciated and needed!
Sincerely, Terri Odell, Annie’s Locker President