Tag Archives: shoes

You Can Change the World: One Day Without Shoes

One Day Without ShoesI went barefoot today as a part of Toms One Day Without Shoes. It’s a simple idea to raise awareness for the millions of people who go without shoes every day and face dire consequences. Not having shoes can lead to cuts and sores that can get infected and lead to serious medical problems. Some kids can’t even go to school unless they have shoes. And the fact that really grabbed me: Approximately one million people in Ethiopia suffer from a debilitating and disfiguring condition (podoconiosis) that’s completely preventable with shoes.

Something as simple as shoes (like water) can make a big difference. I never would have thought of shoes as being the difference between life and death before. But that’s the reality.

If you’re not familiar with them, Toms is a company that wants to put shoes on shoeless children. For every pair of shoes you buy, they’ll donate a pair to a child in need. It’s a cool concept (though I haven’t bought any of Toms shoes). Another way to help put kids in shoes is with the organization Soles4Souls (I mentioned them a while back).

I don’t know if I actually raised much awareness going barefoot (other than Twitter and this blog), but I do think it was valuable. Last fall I went homeless for a night and I remember someone made a comment (I don’t know if it was directed at me or not) that they didn’t understand what good it did to pretend to be homeless. I get that perspective. Pretending I don’t have shoes and going barefoot for a day doesn’t really help a child with no shoes. And going homeless for a night doesn’t directly help a real homeless person. But it’s not so much about directly helping them as it is about changing me.

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You Can Change the World: $5 Raincoats & Shoes

You can change the world this Christmas by buying raincoats for the homeless or shoes for the, um, shoeless. Two great, simple and cheap charity ideas:

50,000 Shoes in 50 Days
Anne Jackson teamed up with Soles4Souls to issue a challenge: Buy 50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days. $5 will buy you two pairs of shoes. Soles4Souls gets shoes to people who need them, helping to keep them safe and healthy. There’s less than a week left in the challenge and more tan 40,000 pairs of shoes to go. There’s been some talk that this effort is more talk than action, that lots of people are talking about it but few are donating. That’s lame. I bought a pair of shoes (OK, two pairs). You can, too.

Dreaming of a Dry Christmas
I’ve talked about invisiblepeople.tv before, the site telling the stories of real homeless people. The man behind it, Mark Horvath, is working with homeless people in Los Angeles and has seen a need for raincoats. Michael Buckingham of Holy Cow Creative wants to send Mark 100 coats. He’s dreaming of a dry Christmas. $4.29 is all it takes to buy a raincoat for a homeless person. I bought one. It’s not much, but tell that to the homeless person getting soaked.