TOMS shoes is the company that inspired me to write this blog. I discovered TOMS when I lived in Southern California this past summer and watched as the hip kids melted for this new style of shoe. They come in every color, pattern and size and even vary in material. Yet the model of the shoe is unmistakably unique to the company, as is their objective for business.
TOMS began in May 2006, founded by Blake Mycoskie. Mycoskie got the idea for the slip-on style of shoe made with lightweight fabric from the traditional alpargata after his trip to Argentina. The poverty and health issues he encountered on his trip hit Mycoskie pretty hard and moved him to market alpargatas in the US to help the poor in Argentina. His idea was to match every pair of shoes in the US sold with a pair to a child in need. TOMS’ slogan of One for One is a fresh way of helping the poor that has caught Americans’ interest and is becoming somewhat of an icon.
The disease that TOMS is helping to eradicate is Podoconiosis. It’s a disease that is transferred by walking or working barefoot in volcanic soil that is rich in silica, which is a fairly common practice in rural parts of developing countries. The disease causes ulcers, extreme swelling, and deformity in the legs. Many countries in Africa, Central America and northern India are affected by this debilitating disease. In Ethiopia, between five hundred thousand and one million people are afflicted by Podoconiosis. Those afflicted experience intense pain and are considered pariahs in their society, no longer able to work to support themselves. It’s a serious problem with a fairly easy solution. If those living in the areas with silica-rich soil had shoes to wear consistently from early childhood, they would be able to avoid the disease. TOMS shoes is working to provide durable footwear to at-risk children living in these dangerous areas in the world. I got my information and statistics from the TOMS website, so they have done their research and really know their stuff.
Sounds cool, right? You can easily support TOMS by buying a pair of their shoes. The best part is, you’re not simply giving the company money, you’re getting a great product out of it, too. You can buy online at their website or search for stores near you that carry TOMS shoes.
If you really want to get involved, you can apply to go on a TOMS shoe drop. Apply online to get the chance to go on a trip to take the shoes directly to the kids in need. It would be an amazing experience and a great way to get involved with a cause.
TOMS is planning to give 200,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world. This is truly a cool cause and I urge everyone to check out TOMS shoes and support the organization.
Visit TOMS shoes homepage at http://www.tomsshoes.com/
I chose to write about this company because I really believe in what they’re doing. I think so many people assume they don’t have the power to actually help or make a difference in the world. They see ads for impoverished and malnourished children with swollen bellies and sallow faces, but they don’t see how giving money to an organization will actually help them in the end. It won’t end world hunger, and millions of children will still be dying. But to really make a difference, you don’t have to start a movement and do something big. Just donating a pair of shoes can prevent a lot for these kids. I know that TOMS is changing the world in a great way, and I think everyone should be aware of their cause.