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Healthcare workers holding up Balega socks while at the hospital
Spreading Positivity and Hope During the COVID-19 Crisis

Since its inception, a pillar of the Balega brand has been about caring for the community. We are proud to recognize several of our Impi ambassador team members who have been giving back to their respective communities. Read their inspiring stories below of giving back and spreading positivity during difficult and challenging times.

Allison Lerer gave Balega socks to healthcare workers in her local community. 
“I co-lead a female-only group that encourages women of all speeds, sizes and ages to be active and confident in themselves.  Once a month, we meet up for a no-drop run to have fun and encourage one another. Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we were not able to meet last month where I was going to do a group activity and give away some pairs of Balega socks. Instead of waiting until the next group run, I decided to donate them to my friend, a respiratory therapist, and her coworkers who are spending endless hours on their tired feet treating patients. It is a small token of appreciation for their selfless work during this pandemic.”  

Jenna Velasco rode her bike for 24 hours to raise money for a local food bank. 
“When I was younger my house was flooded and my family needed assistance. The food bank was able to provide resources as well as food to help us out during that time. So the food bank is already an organization that is close to my heart. Now we are facing a pandemic that most people did not expect to hit so hard. And the need for food bank resources is at an all-time high. This is what inspired myself and two friends (they live in Canada) to do something about it. We all had bikes, trainers, and a lot of determination. Riding our bikes inside made it possible for a 24-hour ride because we wouldn't have to worry about a route and we could continue to update people along the way. We all rode for our local food banks. I was able to raise $5,000 for my local food bank - which is 35,000 meals. And my friends Josh and Yannick raised a little over $5,000, as well. It was truly an unforgettable experience and it was amazing to see so many people from all over the world willing to support us through this effort. I still have my fundraiser open so people can still donate at my.safoodbank.org/bikingforsa, or they can donate to their local food bank, as I am sure food banks everywhere need the support more than ever right now.” 

 

Portrait of Impi Ambassador riding her bike

 

CC Rowe is running around her neighborhood to deliver items to her at-risk neighbors
CC is giving running and being a Balega Impi true meaning! The Austin-based ultra-marathon runner is giving back to her community by making on-foot deliveries to her at-risk neighbors. Last year, in her Facebook neighborhood group, she offered to use her runs to carry items from one house to another. While she's been doing her "Buy Nothing" runs for months, they've now grown in importance during the pandemic. CC wears gloves on her runs, and practices social distancing. For high risk people, CC’s runs offer a way to stay home, while still being able to receive essentials they need while stuck at home. For CC herself, it is a way to give back to her community in a unique way. 

Nancy Hobbs has put together a hilarious YouTube series to keep people smiling - Social Distance Learning with Nano on Trails.

“I had noticed on social media that some friends who are teachers would now have to create online lessons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, I thought, why not share some fun videos about a variety of subjects to do my part in the education of our young people. Inspired first by some subjects that interested me, I am now creating content prompted by requests from friends on social media. I have gotten some comments that trail runners like something different than just videos about exercise. My hope is that the videos are enjoyable and would love feedback from our audience, as well as suggestions for future topics.”

 

Still frame of Nancy speaking to her youtube followers

 

Bree Lambert-Sanders led a virtual workout for 2nd grade school kids, having them use soup cans for weights and rolling pins for massage rollers.
“At this present time there are many children around the country and the world who have been forced to stay inside because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. As a parent, I know how difficult it can be to keep your kids entertained and active when school has closed, play dates have been cancelled and athletics activities placed on hold. One of my clients is an elementary school teacher for 2nd graders at Aptitud Community Academy in San Jose. Many of the children have parents who are non-English speaking, and have families who live in dwellings with other family members. Therefore, they don't have the opportunity to maintain a consistent exercise schedule because of limited space.

 

What inspired me to provide a  virtual workout is the fact that these kids need exercise. They need to remain active not only for good health, but also to provide them with an outlet to release any stress or anxiety they might be experiencing.

 

Sometimes having a person outside of a family who can come into their home (even if it's virtually) allows for a connection and a distraction that takes them out of the situation they are currently placed in. The kids and the parents have responded very well and love the workouts. In fact, I found parents and teachers wanted to be a part of the class. And the children seemed eager to use the cans and rolling pins as a means to make the workout effective. 

 

What I learned from being a part of this class is not only how much I enjoy sharing my passion for physical fitness with children, but also the incredible fun and joy children have when they are being allowed the freedom to move. I hope to continue to work with elementary children in some capacity even after the shelter in place is lifted.”

 

Bre Lambert's screen share of her zoom viewers

 

Amanda is running errands for her elderly neighbors in NYC.

“No matter which news station you watch you will hear about NYC being a hotspot for this pandemic. Images are running rampant and stories of sadness are everywhere. But what you don't see about NYC is that there are notes posted around apartment buildings by neighbors offering to help those that can't go out. People dropping off goods to those working to keep us safe. And the nightly 7p.m. cheers that happen all over the city to thank, celebrate and encourage our healthcare workers battling the front lines. Because that is what NYC is - it is tough, but we do take care of each other.

 

After my industry was shut down in early March, I reached out to a job I used to have between shows as an elderly companion. Needless to say, the elderly are taking the brunt of this virus, but they still have to maintain a quality of life, even if from the comfort of their tiny NYC apartments. I agreed to help out with the elderly as long as I could physically get to and from their apartments via foot. I was going out for my runs every day, anyway, so why not turn it into some good? The company I work for connects me with clients who may have lost their companions or those who need a little extra help during this time, and I safely run their errands (decked in gloves and a mask and my Balega Hidden Comfort socks), and then keep them company from a safe distance. Many of these clients don't know how to use FaceTime or other technology to connect them with friends and family, so sometimes it is the only socialization they get. And what I notice is that when someone sees others checking in, others follow suit.

 

I can't wait until my services are no longer needed because that means we have defeated this enemy. But, I figure if the pandemic is going to be spreading far and wide, our net of care and kindness should be larger. I am just a small cog in a massive wheel of difference. And it gives me purpose and joy.”

 

Amanda wearing pink Balega visor and medal around her neck, standing on city street after a race