If you’ve ever stuck around at the end of the marathon, the race route looks like a graveyard of discarded hoodies, hats, gloves and long-sleeve shirts. It’s not unusual for anyone who runs for 26.2 miles under the beating sun to shed some layers, but if the owners don’t come back for their clothes, it’s a big problem. When Michael Resnic and his 9-year-old daughter Madeline noticed this at the 2007 Philadelphia marathon, they came up with something simple yet brilliant—they collected the discarded clothes and donated them to a homeless shelter.
Inspired by their experience, the father-daughter team started their Philly-based nonprofit called Clothes-Pin (Clothes for People in Need) and have since shown up at 12 to 15 races a year, including ones in Washington D.C., Atlantic City, Baltimore, Bethlehem, Pa. and San Francisco.
According to the Clothes-Pin site, the Resnics and their team of volunteers have collected more than 100,000 discarded items including hats, gloves, hoodies, sweatpants and shirts, and thousands of pairs of sneakers. Now 16 and a high school sophomore, Madi recently told MNN, “It’s not like I’m someone special. I’m just like anyone else who saw something and decided to do something about it. Everyone has that power.”