HANOVER, Va. (WRIC) — In January 2014, Meg Menzies was tragically killed during an early morning run in Hanover County. Since then #megsmiles has taken over social media, offering supporting to her family and friends in their grief.
Now, the effort is going across the miles in a new way.
“We’ve come full circle from a shoe memorial from runners all over the country and the world to now we’re gathering shoes to send across the world to people we don’t know to honor them,” explains Pam Cross, Meg’s mom. “We’re stepping out, and we’re reaching out to help other people and #megsmiles is going to travel even further.”
Today, there is a shoe drive for Syrian refugees at Cool Spring Baptist Church, the church where Meg spent so much of her time.
This drive is next step in the legacy of Meg, a woman so mission-minded and so loving that complete strangers everywhere have embraced her.
One of them is Kel Kelly, a supporter in Massachusetts. She never met Meg but was inspired by the story, the face and the spirit behind the hashtag.
Kelly built a running shoe memorial along the Boston Marathon route in 2014. It was the race Meg was training for when she was struck and killed and the race her husband ran in her place. Kelly recently volunteered her time to aid refugees and realized they all needed something for their journey. It is something for which #megsmiles would be a perfect fit.
“They need to know that they can have shoes on their feet and be taken care of,” Cross says.
The idea for the shoe drive was born. Richmond-area runners are involved, along with local schools. They are collecting new and gently-used shoes of all sizes. Lucky Foot Shoe locations are a part of the effort too.
“She would just be so happy if we could just collect thousands and thousands of shoes to glorify God and honor her memory,” Cross says with a smile.
The #megsmiles shoe drive is happening Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Cool Spring Baptist Church is located at 9283 Atlee Station Road in Mechanicsville.