January 21, 2020

Nonprofit epkicks hosts second annual 5K to provide new shoes to youth

Do you love shoes? Do you love running? Do you love giving? Lace up your sneakers with epkicks for its second annual Run for Shoes 5K Run and One-mile Fun Run/Walk. The run raises money to provide underprivileged youth with new brand-name athletic shoes. The run takes place Sunday, March 29 at 8 a.m. at Up & Running West, 3233 N. Mesa.

“I love shoes, I own too many shoes, and I was thinking that there is need for shoes out in the community,” said Ken Benckwitz co-founder of epkicks, which is part of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s community of philanthropy.

Benckwitz reached out to his friend and co-founder, Sebastian Rumler about raising money to buy shoes for kids who were in need, and epkicks was born.

Soon after the success of its first Run For Shoes in 2019, which overwhelmingly surpassed its participant and fundraising goals, the partners knew that they were going to need help running a nonprofit.

“There’s paperwork, it’s too much and people get discouraged doing this by themselves,” said Benckwitz.  “For us, the Paso del Norte Community Foundation can do all of the administrative work and we could still do what we are passionate about: getting the shoes, getting involved with the community and helping the kids.”

Because the Paso del Norte Community Foundation has been able to provide financial management for the fund, Benckwitz and Rumler are able to focus on fundraisers, like Run for Shoes, and providing new sneakers to programs like Socorro Independent School District’s Helping Academic Needs of Displaced Students (HANDS) program.

“When Ken and Sebastian reached out to us, we were so blessed that our own HANDS were going to receive shoes,” said     state and federal programs Title I specialist for SISD, Loren Cartagena.

SISD and epkicks coordinated discretely to get shoe sizes and gift the new shoes to the students who are in need. In September, epkicks delivered about 200 shoes to SISD students.

“Ken and Sebastian have been wonderful about giving us more shoes for the students because there is always a need.”

This year, epkicks wants to continue that success and continue to give back, by providing shoes to underprivileged students.

To register for epkicks’ second annual Run for Shoes 5K Run and One-mile Fun Run/Walk, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/ElPaso/epkicksrunforshoes. Registration for individuals is $25 in advance; $30 the day of the run; and $20 per member for teams. All proceeds from the run will go towards the purchase of new tennis shoes for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

For more information, “like” epkicks on Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/epkicks.