MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Project Run Madera has been providing running gear to young athletes in the Central Valley for five years.
Since its launch, the non-profit has gifted running shoes and training clothes to hundreds of students.
Alisha Brown is the founder of Project Run Madera.
She's grateful to be able to help and support young athletes in the same town she grew up in.
Alisha says, "The smiles, the gratitude, the thank you's hugs. I mean, you can't fake it. It's overwhelming. It's such a beautiful feeling that you can help someone."
Alisha started the non-profit while she was a professional runner in 2017.
A local middle school coach reached out -- their teen runners didn't have the appropriate gear, like sports bras.
They were wearing regular ones to practice and re-washing them for school the next day.
Alisha's sponsors were able to jump in and help.
Her mission is personal to her; she describes her non-profit as "heart work."
Alisha mentions, "Coming from a single-parent home, my mother couldn't always afford to buy my running shoes. She bought one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year, and those had to last all year."
Alisha says running shoes are a huge part of an athlete's performance and physical health.
A good pair will run you about $100, and gear like shoe spikes can cost $150.
While they are expensive, without the proper foot support, athletes can develop inflammation in their heels.
Alisha explains, "Eventually, if your shoe is lining like this and not like this, then your fascia in your foot is going to pull and tug, and it literally feels like it's tearing."
Project Run Madera is a month away from their big giveaway.
Six middle and high schools in Madera will receive running shoes and practice gear for their athletes.
Spikes can also be provided for those in need.
A link to donate and information can be found here.
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