I personally began participating in One Day Without Shoes in April of 2009, however, I also had a very tiny newborn baby so my reach wasn't very far outside of a few neighbors and possibly the postman. I was so excited to share with others and couldn't wait until the following year and get out there. My children were also excited to do this with me! In 2010, the next DWOS fell on Vision Night at our church and my children and I all went to church barefoot and were excitedly willing to share the story of what TOMS was doing to help children in impoverished countries to protect them from the debilitating diseases and painful sores they endured from daily life. Ever since, I have participated in One Day Without Shoes and have talked to so many about what we can do to help those in need.
I encourage you to participate with me this year. If school or your employment prohibits you from going barefoot during the day (which I totally understand), then you can wear your custom TOMS (or your traditional TOMS), sport a TOMS shirt, fly a TOMS flag, wear your TOMS bag, have conversations about it, post signs (I have posted a link to the TOMS toolkit below), and there are so many other wonderful other ideas that you can do. Please don't do anything to get into "trouble", this isn't something to cause controversy, but instead, raise awareness and start conversations. Be smart in what you do. While children and adults in impoverished countries go barefoot everyday and we are trying to help them and this day is do that "we walk a day in their shoes", I ask that you please don't do anything dangerous. Please be aware of your surroundings when barefoot- IT IS DANGEROUS. We take this luxury for granted everyday. I am a southerner and am often barefoot- by choice. One day a year, I am reminded just how lucky I am and am always reminded of how good I have it. One year I stepped in a fire ant bed. Another year I burned my feet on the scorching Texas pavement. Be careful out there. We have it good with our soled feet! Watch where you step- don't break rules- don't do anything unhealthy (like going into a hospital barefoot)- watch open sores, etc.
Thank you so much for continuing to spread the word and helping those who need help! It is because of you that we can help spread love, make this world a more beautiful place and shine bright!
If you are participating or would like more information, please visit TOMS.com and check out the toolkit!
If you are on Instagram, use the hashtags #onedaywithoutshoes and #shinebright to be reposted and featured by Chicken Scratch Studio!!
With so much love,
A debilitating disease that causes extremely painful swelling of the feet and legs. Podo affects more than 4 million people in at least 15 countries.
Source: WHO, 2013
Podo can be prevented by wearing shoes and practicing good foot hygiene. Organizations like IOCC give shoes along with health education to children at risk of podo.
Source: TOMS, 2015