As the days grow shorter, darker, and colder, we tend to grow more introspective and -- perhaps ironically -- grateful. Our team at Balega would like to use this season of giving thanks to reflect and thank several of the core people and organizations who help to make our world a little brighter.
Balega’s ‘sole’ and foundation is built on community, a core pillar of Zulu culture. It’s as central to who we are as making high quality performance socks.
In 2004, we formed the non-profit Lesedi Project to give back and strengthen South African and American communities. Denoting light and enlightenment, Lesedi bolsters organizations like the Ethembeni School in South Africa. Through the Lesedi Project, purchases of Balega’s Lesedi beads and donations have provided to-date over 300 disabled and disadvantaged children with a wheelchair friendly school bus, therapy playpark and swimming pool, as well as 12 annual scholarships.
In the United States, Balega supports several organizations including:
Back On My Feet (BOMF) - Through organized running programs, BOMF helps homeless people find the confidence, strength and self-esteem needed to rebuild their lives with new jobs, homes and happiness.
Veterans in Need - A portion of the proceeds from Balega’s specialized, military-approved socks, goes to help U.S. veterans secure adapted housing through Homes for Our Troops.
Grit and Grace - $1 from every pair of limited-edition Grit and Grace socks sold is donated to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP).
In addition to our own projects, we are delighted to help enable the generosity of our Impi ambassador team members and share some of their stories with you.
Nathan Zipper grew invested in Boston Children’s Hospital after running the 2016 Boston Marathon for the organization as a charity runner. Building off of Boston Children’s periodic challenges to encourage giving, Nathan enlisted Balega to contribute to Miles for Miracles, the hospital’s biggest challenge of the year.
Feeling like “combining my passion for the hospital with my love of Balega was a no brainer,” Nathan enlisted Balega to contribute a prize back for the runner among the 180 member team who generated the most donations throughout the contest period.
The challenge was a smashing success. “I am excited to share that over the contest period the hospital received gifts totaling $34,985 from 313 new online donors!” Nathan says.
Piggybacking on the Swedish tradition of “plocka upp,” meaning “pick up,” Impi ambassador Tara created the #SpringPlogging challenge to encourage fellow runners to lace up their shoes and beautify their local trails. Starting on the first day of spring and ending on Earth Day, Tara hosted this unique running challenge encouraging runners to bring a trash bag with them on easy runs and pick up trash as they go.
“This challenge is a laid back and fun way to celebrate and bring awareness to our planet's health!” Tara says. Each time runners used the #SpringPlogging hashtag on social media they entered to win “sweet” prizes from sponsors, including Balega.
Firefighter Brian Hackenburg brought fellow firefighters to the Area Children’s Hospital to hand out Balegas and spend the day with the kids.
Ashleigh Freda’s Raising Runners Program provides every day shoes to kids in Kentucky-- as well as running shoes if they participate in the program’s free running club. Raising Runners has given out more than 170 pairs of shoes since 2017. Balega contributed socks to go along with this year’s round of shoes.
Every year, Hillary Young bikes 150 miles to raise support for the American Lung Association. She and her team also conduct a silent auction, which Balega contributes to with a basket of socks.
Blake Starr works with Showering Love, an organization that turned a city bus into two full showers for people experiencing homelessness. Located in southern Florida, the buses provide 25 to 30 showers each time they venture into town. Showering Love also provides clean clothes for participants. At Blake’s particular event which was specifically hosted for Veterans, Balega donated Enduro Physical Training socks for each person.
We hope these stories of selflessness from our sock stars inspire you to continue to give back to your community this holiday season, too. And of course, you are giving back each time you purchase a pair of Balega socks (which also happen to make perfect stocking stuffers, we’re just saying...).