Apparently it’s the big thing to wear TOMS Shoes at Belmont University (and other fine collegiate institutions across the nation) where son, Ben, goes to school. TOMS Shoes are what every aspiring young artist or musician is wearing “this season.”
They’re a “different” looking kind of shoe because their design is based on Argentinian alpargata shoes which have been worn by Argentinian farmers for many years. Apparently the founder of the company, Blake Mycoskie, came up with the idea while vacationing in Argentina and decided to start a company whose mission would be to give a free pair of shoes to a child who really needs them with every pair of shoes purchased.
You can buy TOMS Shoes (great name…don’t you think?!) in every color and design imaginable. And for every pair that is bought, one free pair is given to someone — usually a child — in need of shoes.
I didn’t think much about this until we decided to give Ben a TOMS gift certificate for Christmas. It came along with a DVD showing how the shoes are given away, and to whom. It was an incredibly enlightening, uplifting, and eye-opening video. There are so many children in developing countries who literally have no shoes to wear. Think of it: NO SHOES! And the joy on the faces of kids who had never had a pair of shoes before brought tears to my eyes.
Our school at Mt. Calvary isn’t exactly in the richest neighborhood, but at least all of our school children come to school everyday with shoes on.
A few weeks ago I looked at the TOMS Shoes web site and saw that they were promoting “One Day Without Shoes” on April 8th, 2010, to draw attention to the plight of children who have no shoes. It seemed like a great idea. People did it last year, and it was a success in drawing attention to this world wide problem.
Now…you can ask my family…I am a person who NEVER goes barefoot or without shoes…not even in the summer. I can’t stand stepping on a stone, or hurting my foot, or cement that’s too hot. I have tender feet. But this year, on April 8th, I’m going to be going barefoot. There are lots of kids who need shoes, and I want to draw attention to that. I’m even trying to design my own T-shirt so that people know why I’m barefoot on April 8th.
Kids in developing countries need shoes because going barefoot is dangerous; it causes disease; it keeps them from going to school, because shoes are part of a proper school uniform; and it is a major cause of cuts, scrapes, and bruises that can lead to more serious health difficulties. If these kids do it every day, I can certainly stand the discomfort for one day.
I might even buy a pair of TOMS Shoes, so that I can be “cool” like Ben and all his friends.
Will you be going barefoot with me on April 8th? Please leave a comment if you plan on doing so.
P.S. Check out this video that Ben and his friends put together about TOMS Shoes.