A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a couple of bloggers that I know and admire (Heather Spohr, Rebecca Woolf and Nanette of Say It, Don't Spray It ) at the TOMS Shoes Headquarters in Santa Monica. Walking through their incredibly unique and downright hip space, it was easy to see how passionate TOMS employees would be about their company.
Though I didn't own a pair, I knew and liked TOMS stylistically, but honestly, had very little awareness of Blake Mycoskie, the founder and "Chief Shoe Giver" of TOMS shoes. Blake came and shared with us the mission of TOMS: with every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Through this One for One program, as of April 2010, TOMS had given over 1,000,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need around the world.
It goes without saying that Blake is one cool dude-- and listening to him was inspiring. Every year, they take their philanthropic efforts one step further... Today, April 5th is One Day Without Shoes (#withoutshoes). It's a yearly global action event to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's life. Millions of children grow up without shoes and are at risk of disease and infection. In Ethiopia, approximately 1 million people are suffering from a debilitating disease called podoconiosis, which is 100% preventable with basic hygiene and shoes.
During our visit, we were each given a pair of plain, off white canvas TOMS and equipped with a ton of fabric paints, encouraged to Style our Soles. (Click here to see how you can host an event like this!).
(Um, Rebecca's shoes turned out ADORABLE. She's goddamn stylish, that girl)
Here's what I walked out with... Pretty cute right???
Okay, so my plan for One Day Without Shoes? Spend 3 hours at home this morning without shoes-- that includes chores like moving my car for street cleaning, taking out the trash, and dealing with my ice cold hardwood floor while my coffee brews. It pales in comparison to the terrain that some children have to bare, but it's a start.... Thank you to everyone at TOMS and the always lovely Ketchum team!
Here are more ways that you can get involved:
On this day, families, friends, parents, strangers, and co-workers host or participate in events without shoes. Some go without shoes for an hour, some for the whole day, but all become a part of a greater movement toward change.