TOMS: One day without shoes

By Laura Ann Sills - email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - How far could you walk barefoot?

People all over the nation kicked off their shoes Thursday to make a bold statement for the millions of children who live without shoes.

Matt Ragan walked from his apartment and around campus barefoot. He said, "I can definitely tell that shoeless feet are sore feet."

It's a chance for him to spread awareness about kids living without shoes.

Not only does it hurt to walk barefoot, it's dangerous.  Cuts and sores on the feet can lead to infections.

Some kids cannot attend school without shoes.

"I have already stubbed my toe twice, so, if I can stump it doing nothing but walking to class I ca not imagine what children in less developed countries do to their feet walking on volcanic ash and rocks," said Mary Elizabeth Hayes, freshman at AU.

Approximately one million people in Ethiopia are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil. The disease is 100% preventable by wearing shoes.  This exact fact is what started TOMS.

"It is a one for one movement, you buy a pair of shoes you give a child that doesn't have a pair of shoes that gift they've never had before," explained Hayes.

TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie's vision was simple - every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.

Ragan only owns one pair right now, but he plans to extend his collection this summer.  "The first time I saw the shoes I was like 'they look kind of comfortable.' I tried them out and I loved them. Just the idea behind it really makes it what it is. Otherwise, it would be just a shoe. This time you are buying a cool comfy pair of shoes and helping someone else," said Ragan.

For more information about TOMS, click here.

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