- State News
- Gas Industry
Students go barefoot for good cause
April 23, 2012
By Victoria Irwin
Many Lycoming students have stepped forward to help children in need. Students did personal shopping and also are donating to a good cause: they have signed up to participate in the college sponsored TOMS shoes decorating day, scheduled Thursday, April 19, on the Quad from 11am-1pm.
Students who wanted to participate in the “TOMS: Style Your Sole” event signed up with their RA before the end of March. For $44, students purchased a pair of cool shoes to decorate for themselves as well as donating a pair to a child in need.
Thursday's event included food and entertainment as well as a fun time decorating TOMS with fellow students.
The TOMS mission to help children started six years ago. The company website offers the background on the goal, stating, “In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.”
Since 2006, over one million pairs of shoes have been provided to children in need through the One for One program.
The TOMS company chooses to focus on providing shoes for young children because a leading cause of death in developing countries is diseases transmitted through soil, which can be spread by penetrating bare feet. Also, several countries have schools with uniforms that require children to wear shoes, and if they don’t have shoes, they miss out on an education.
TOMS Shoes works to identify children in countries that need shoes and sticks with these communities as children grow to continue providing them with the protection shoes offer. They work personally in these communities and make sure that children receive shoes that fit. Once a pair of shoes is paid for, it usually takes about four to six months to distribute them.
According to statistics on the company’s website, the countries that TOMS distributes to the most are Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa.
TOMS also sponsors “One Day Without Shoes,” a movement to raise awareness for the children’s shoe cause. The company states that by experiencing the shoeless lifestyle that these children go through, people will raise questions in their own communities, which will then lead to researching the problems these children have, in turn bringing new attention to the cause and catalyzing change.
This year’s day without shoes was held April 10. More than 7,000 people pledged to participate in this event, and posters were displayed around the Lycoming campus to show support and encourage students to participate. Several students braved the Williamsport weather and went shoeless in the rain. Photos from the 2012 event can be found at www.onedaywithoutshoes.com.
In addition to “One Day Without Shoes,” TOMS sponsors many college campus events nation-wide. Lycoming’s “Style Your Sole” is among many that are taking place across the country, as well as festivals, fashion shows, and other gatherings to promote awareness of the TOMS cause as well as raise money to provide shoes to children in need.
In addition to shoes, TOMS has launched an eyewear line that functions on the One-for-One premise. The company offers several styles of shoes and eyewear, and all can be found and purchased online at www.toms.com.