October 04, 2013

An Open Letter: So We Run


Ryan Smith and me (Ryan is the bald one)

So We Run started over a conversation I had with Ryan Smith about four years back. We had just returned from a trip to Argentina and were both motivated to see if we could help facilitate long-term change in communities with great needs. We knew that lightly-used shoes couldn’t break the cycle of poverty, but we hoped that a simple gift could perhaps help to plant seeds for future growth and community renewal.


Looking back over the years, if we're being honest, it’s hard to know how much good we did. So We Run has donated shoes to folks in need from Wenham, Massachusetts to Nairobi, Kenya. We spent a week in Guatemala partnering with an orphanage and donated over 350 pairs of shoes to a homeless shelter in Boston.


But did we really help? Were we able to encourage folks and perhaps, even in a small way, improve their quality of life? I hope so. I really do. But isn’t that the funny thing about hope. The very definition of hope--words like, “wish” and “expectation”--imply a great anticipation for the future, but uncertainty in the present.

Unfortunately, as the biblical author Paul says, all we can do is wait patiently for what we have hope for, but don't yet have. At this point in the life of SWR, we feel that present/future tension quite acutely. When Ryan and I started out we were both living in Beverly, MA, single and (relatively) young. Fast forward a few years and Ryan has gotten married, moved to North Carolina and welcomed a son into the world. I still live in Beverly but now have a beautiful wife, Sarah--who just so happens to be pregnant. Additionally I decided to enroll in grad school this past fall.


A shoe drive in Marietta, Georgia
Suffice to say, our lives look much differently than they did a few years ago. Given these significant life changes, Ryan and I have decided that we cannot continue to lead So We Run to its full potential. We have decided at this point, that it is best for us to shut our doors. Although we hope this is a temporary measure, truthfully, we don’t know what the future will hold.


So we hope. We hope that one day So We Run can reopen its doors and becoming an engine for good and global change. But more importantly, we hope that those people that received shoes from us will have a greater hope for their own future, and for the future of their community.

These are the things that we hope for. These are the things we are believing for.

We wanted to make sure we thanked the folks that supported So We Run from its inception. So many people volunteered their time, money and resources and we are so incredibly grateful for that. Any good that we were able to do, had quite little to do with Ryan and me. Folks supported SWR from everything to helping to design logos and websites to taking suitcases stuffed full of shoes with them as the travelled to places like Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Thank you!!!

Sincerely,

Keith Krass
On behalf of SWR

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