Messages of hope: Howland runner giving back through her small business

Sports

"Handmade by Elenie" has sold hundreds of bracelets over the past several months, with proceeds going to local charities

HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Recent Howland graduate Elenie McNally is making a difference during the pandemic by giving back through her small business.

Congressman Tim Ryan even gave her a shoutout on social media this week.

McNally, 18, was a former track and cross country standout for the Tigers. She’s staying local to run for Kent State Trumbull.

“Once school stopped and there was no track, I knew I had to get on my own and start a routine because it’s completely new now,” McNally said.

Last fall, McNally helped the Howland girls cross country team make it to the state meet. This summer, she’s building on that success by running for at least an hour every day around her neighborhood.

“Running has definitely become a big part in my life,” she said. “There are a lot of ups and downs with it. Sometimes you completely hate it, but there’s moments where you really love it.”

Running has been a great outlet for McNally during the pandemic, as well as creating. With the help of her mom, she created “Handmade by Elenie”, an online store to sell her homemade bracelets, anklets and key chains.

The unique styles have been a hit, with several hundred already sold. Most of her designs feature inspirational messages.

“I just like that fact that they are getting something different. They open it up and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is unique,'” McNally said.

McNally gives $1 from each purchase to organizations like Howland’s Paw Pantry.

For the last month, she has also donated proceeds to Poland native Kristin Fox. She’s a recent quadruple amputee due to complications with the flu. McNally has never met Fox but is doing her part to spread a message of hope.

“It doesn’t only make me smile, it makes the other person smile,” McNally said. “Just a little, simple thing can make someone else smile.”

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