Today is TOMS One Day Without Shoes. According to the official Facebook page for the event, 57,271 people are walking around the world without shoes today. I have been a fan of TOMS Shoes since the day I heard of them back in 2008. This company was started by a man named Blake Mycoskie after he traveled to Argentina. While he was there, he met a woman who was running a program that provided shoes to the children of her country who could not afford their own shoes. Blake discovered that the woman was frustrated by the lack of resources for her program, because a lot of the time she would not have enough shoes for all the children or she would not have the correct sizes (Do Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie). I have encountered this problem in my work in the Dominican Republic, and you can read about this in my post, Smuggling Guanabana and Complete Imperfection. From my most recent trip to the Dominican Republic, I found that I can completely relate to what this woman described; it is infinitely frustrating not being able to help the people who are in severe need of assistance.
Blake created TOMS, a for-profit company, to provide shoes for the children that he worked with. Within one year of the development of the idea, Blake returned to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes. With every pair of shoes that is purchased through TOMS, the company provides one pair for a child in need. One for One. I love this philosophy and the model for their company, because they are meeting the needs of the children without encountering limitations. They are able to measure the feet of each child and fit them with their perfect shoe. There are no color or style issues with the shoes (a problem I have encountered with Coloring Countries) because each pair of shoes that are donated are black, canvas shoes, which are the standard requirement for schools.
April 10th, One Day Without Shoes, is a day to create awareness for the TOMS movement- and a glorious job it does! I was stopped 17 times today by people who are curious about my bare feet. When I got stopped, I was able to describe this wonderful company and the work they do. My fellow bare-footers all smile at me as I pass, and some even give me a high five. We bond over our passion for helping others. This is part of the reason why TOMS is so successful, they make it very easy for Average Janes and Joes to change the world. I have found that the majority of the world (particularly youth) are frustrated with our global situation, and want to help others; hence, the success story of TOMS.
Even though I have glass in my heels and my toes are worn through, my heart is warm and fuzzy. I think that the challenge of today made the reward all the more fulfilling, especially being thrown out of the grocery store. =)
So your Two Hands Tuesday mission this week is to go purchase a pair of these life-changing shoes.Your purchase will allow a child to attend school, when their lack of shoes was previously holding them back. It will also prevent the child from contracting a disease through the cuts that they receive from walking barefoot everyday. Here is the link to the website, check out their selection and pick out a wonderful pair for yourself! TOMS Website.