BY JESSICA TANSKI
SC Staff Writer
Millions of children around the world suffer from the lack of a single pair of shoes. What goes unnoticed is that shoes provide protection from numerous diseases and deadly infections.
The TOMS Company is giving everyone an opportunity to help gain awareness and help a child in need.
April 16 is TOMS’ annual “One Day Without Shoes” event. People all over the world are challenged to do their daily activities without wearing shoes to bring global awareness to children’s health and education.
People in such a developed country like the United States take for granted basic needs that third world countries lack—like a simple pair of shoes.
The “One Day Without Shoes” event was started by college students who were enthusiastic and eager to make a difference in the world.
The first “One Day Without Shoes” was in 2008. In just its second year, more than a quarter of a million people went barefoot globally.
The TOMS One for One® movement states, that for every product purchased, TOMS will help a person in need. The company feels that the way in which humans decide to shop can change the world.
The TOMS movement was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006. He found his inspiration from a trip to Argentina. Moved by extreme poverty, Blake set out to team up with giving partners to change the lives of children in need one at a time.
Each pair of given TOMS is unique to the climate and terrain of that area to provide the necessary protection.
Black canvas TOMS with a more sturdy sole is the most common. However, bright colors and patterns are given in Argentina to keep with the culture’s traditions. Winter boots are also given in the areas with colder climates.
TOMS is committed to continue to give shoes as children grow and the demand for bigger sizes is essential. Working with over 75 Shoe Giving Partners, distribution of shoes is paired with educational programs, health checkups, microfinance programs, school support, and much more.
Within the first year of business, 10,000 pairs of TOMS were sold and the one millionth pair was given to a needy child in September 2010. TOMS is currently giving in over 50 countries and providing shoes and eye care to thousands of individuals.
A company that started out with just selling shoes has expanded into an eyewear line as well as limited clothing.
There are 285 million individuals who are blind or visually impaired. About 80 percent of those cases can be corrected or better prevented if there is available eye care.
TOMS has a desire to help more than just children and their eyewear line helps fulfill that desire. When an eyewear purchase is made it helps restore sight which therefore helps regain independence, economic potential and open up more educational opportunities. This is done by helping fund sight-saving surgery, prescription glasses, and medical treatments to those in need around the world.
Out of the millions of those who are blind or visually impaired, approximately 90 percent of those live in developing counties. TOMS currently helps restore sight in 13 countries, including the United States.
By taking off your shoes for just a single day, it can help a child across the map put on their first pair.
This April 16 help make a difference. Step outside of your comfort zone and help gain awareness for children’s health and education by going one day without shoes.
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