I know where my next pair of shoes will come from. In fact, I know where I’ll be doing a great deal of Christmas shopping!
Toms Shoes was founded with a simple yet beautiful premise: With every pair of shoes a customer (such as you, such as me…) buys, they give a pair of shoes to a precious child in need – like the little doll in the picture to the left (If there’s a person who can look at this picture and not get either a smile or a tear…or both… I hope I never meet them).
TOMS calls the process “One for One.” I just call it beautiful.
In their words: In 2006 an 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 caring TOMS customers. Since our beginning, TOMS has given over 140,000* pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One model. Because of your support, TOMS plans to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world in 2009. Our ongoing community events and Shoe Drop Tours allow TOMS supporters and enthusiasts to be part of our One for One movement.
Some may ask, “Why shoes?” Simple. Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot – they don’t have the luxury of sneakers, sandals, houseshoes, etc. that other children have. Whether they are walking to school, doing their chores or playing, this puts them at risk. Keep in mind that these children often have to walk miles for food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren’t possible barefoot. And with far, far, far less pain. Not only are the injuries to their little feet painful, they can become very dangerous if, and when, infection sets in.
The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.
There are even cases of children not being able to attend school because their school requires shoes as part of the uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they can’t go to school!
I hope other companies will see the steps TOMS is taking to improve the lives of others and will pave out their own path to a brighter tomorrow.
Give while you shop! For every pair of shoes you purchase from TOMS Shoes, another pair is given to a child in need. ONE FOR ONE.