On Tuesday, people across the country who are fortunate enough to own shoes went about their daily activities with their feet exposed to gain a better understanding of what life is like for those who cannot afford shoes. Students at the University of Nevada, Reno took part in this “One Day Without Shoes” event and several student organizations joined forces to donate shoes to people in need.
The UNR TOMS club, The Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Bookstore and Think Kindness collaborated to create an event Tuesday centered around shoes. People were encouraged to walk barefoot for one day, donate shoes to a Think Kindness campus-wide shoe drive and decorate TOMS shoes to be given to the local Children’s Cabinet during the “Style Your Soles” event.
“One Day Without Shoes” was started by TOMS Shoes, a company founded by American Blake Mycoskie after he traveled to Argentina in 2006 and felt compassion for Argentinian children who had no shoes to protect their feet.
According to www.toms.com, Mycoskie wanted to help the children and founded TOMS Shoes, a company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of shoes given to a child in need through a program called “One for One.” At the end of the first year of business, Mycoskie returned to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes, a donation made possible by TOMS customers.
TOMS reaches out to university campuses across the country and helps local college students organize campus clubs. When UNR student Kelly Wright found out about the campus club program, she signed up.
“I applied to be an official campus club and was accepted by TOMS,” Wright said. “Then we got accepted by ASUN as an official club.”
This is the first semester the TOMS club has been organized at UNR, and Wright said the club is gaining momentum.
“We have about 10 members right now,” she said. “We’re just getting started.”
The ASUN Bookstore became involved in the shoe donation effort after store director Marie Stewart heard Mycoskie speak at a recent seminar. She said she found out about TOMS Shoes’ “Style Your Sole” parties and wanted to organize one on the UNR campus.
“They put me in contact with Kelly and then she organized the whole thing,” Stewart said.
The ASUN Bookstore purchased 100 pairs of TOMS shoes for local children and provided art supplies such as permanent markers, stencils and glitter glue and asked UNR students to decorate at least one pair of shoes for the Children’s Cabinet.
“We will probably deliver the shoes to the Children’s Cabinet tomorrow,” Stewart said Tuesday.” We just kind of wanted to do something fun and get the campus involved.”
Wright said TOMS Shoes is a for-profit company with a mission of helping others.
“It’s not just about selling shoes,” Wright said. “It’s about giving shoes to those who need them.”
“And they’re cute and comfortable,” she added about the shoes.