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New leg of Pacers Running donates hundreds of shoes to APS students in need

A new business launched by Pacers Running has donated more than 100 pairs of sneakers to Arlington students from low-income families.

Relay, which sells second-hand and refurbished running shoes, donated 104 pairs of sneakers in April to The Clothesline for Arlington Kids, said Chris Farley, owner of Clarendon-based Pacers Running. Farley also promised to donate around 100 more over the summer and 200 in the fall.

The initial batch of shoes was given to Arlington Public Schools students who received outfits from the Clothesline, which donates clothing to children in need, the nonprofit’s co-founder Ben Sessions told ARLnow.

“I think if I can get some kids that might not be able to afford some of these shoes on their feet, that is pretty cool, I feel really good about that,” Farley said. “I think it’s really important to support the communities that you live in.”

Relay has previously donated shoes to track teams across the country, as well as to other nonprofits in Arlington like the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, he said.

“We’re committed to donating 1,000 pairs this year,” Farley said. He added that he hoped one day the business could donate 10,000 pairs of shoes.

Relay receives from vendors shoes that had been returned by customers, then cleans the shoes and gets them ready for resale. In the case of the Clothesline donations, Farley said he donated pairs with a long remaining shelf life.

Shoe donations of this size are rare for the nonprofit, co-founder Ellen Moy said. She said her organization usually receives “one pair of new shoes once a month.”

“It’s very uncommon to get new shoes donated to us, so when kids get a new pair of shoes, they are so happy,” she said. “I just feel like it really makes a difference in their lives.”

Shoes from Pacers would normally be out of the price range of the families going to The Clothesline, Moy said. Each pair sells for between $80 and $150 in retail, Farley said.

“Most low-income families do not have the opportunity to get high-quality [shoes],” she said.

One of the nonprofit’s volunteers, who is also Farley’s former neighbor, introduced him to The Clothesline earlier this year, Sessions said.

“He was looking for an opportunity to help support local nonprofits in the community,” Sessions said. “So we started a conversation and that culminated in him donating about 104 pairs of shoes in April to us.”

The Clothesline has given away around 100,000 pieces of clothing since it was founded in 2018, Moy said.

“People are happy to have us in the community, so we’re a great place to donate clothes that are still in excellent condition and we’re a great place to distribute clothes,” she said.

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