Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post
TOMS Shoes is an inspiring company in more than one way—its generous Buy One, Give One Away program has already helped children in need in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Argentina receive quality, well fitting shoes. This week, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie brought his shoe giving spirit to the US—he’s starting by giving shoes to kids in school districts hit by Katrina. And the real genius is in the way he’s doing it.Bringing Shoes to Katrina Victims
Previously, Mycoskie hadn’t focused his efforts on US children—studies show that almost every child here has at least one working pair of shoes. But he looked closer, and found that the studies showed a caveat: for poorer kids, and those in disaster relief areas, they often only had a pair of ill-fitting hand-me-down shoes. So Mycoskie set out to get good shoes to the kids, and took a brilliantly unconventional approach to the effort.
Inspired by the success of his Style Your Sole parties, where companies and communities gather to make individualized shoes for the underprivileged around the world, Mycoskie applied the driving idea to the kids themselves. Now he’s visiting elementary schools around New Orleans, and bringing shoes that the kids themselves can paint and get creative with. The event takes the emphasis of the potentially uncomfortable process of receiving charity, and instead applies it to a fun, engaging process that will give the kids something they really need. TOMS plans to visit schools in four districts and reach 3,500 disadvantaged kids.
You can read an entire account of the event in Blake’s article on the Huffington Post. For more information about the company in general, or to buy some of the most socially conscionable footwear around, check the TOMS Shoes website.