Colorado charity helps people donate their old shoes to those in need

by Leanne Gregg
NBC News

The green movement that's sweeping the nation has touched all aspects of life from how we use energy, to the clothes we wear, to what we recycle.

One Colorado charity is focusing their efforts on shoes.

The organization called "One World Running" collects and recycles running shoes and distributes them to needy people around the world.

Mike Sandrock was competing in a marathon in West Africa 21 years ago when he saw runners with no shoes and bloody feet.

"Here's this guy you know, barefoot, bleeding, he's still beating me. I  just remember that trail of blood, and when I got done he was waiting for me at the finish line. He came up and gave me a big hug," said Sandrock.

Sandrock gave him his shoes.

It was the start of what would become One World Running.

Ana Weir is One World Runnning's project director.

She grew up in Honduras and lived side by side with many too poor to buy shoes.

Now between her job as an emergency room nurse, shoes are part of her life's work.

"The satisfaction of knowing that someone is feeling good today, because they got a pair of shoes.  That's all," explained Ana.

Within the last two decades more than a quarter million shoes have been donated from across North America.

They've taken in 3000 in the last month alone.

Torn ones are recycled.

The good ones are cleaned and disinfected before being shipped to parts of the world where shoes may cost a years salary.

"One runner said, God sent you to us.  We had nothing, and now we have shoes," Mike recalled.

The shoes end up in extremely poor areas of Central and South America, Africa, Asia and in parts of the U-S, including New Orleans.

One World Running accepts monetary donations as well.

It's an all volunteer grass roots project, so no one is paid a salary.

For information on the program and how to donate, go to