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(Disclaimer: I do not own any of these photos or media, the rights belong to TOMs, I’m just borrowing them for informational purposes.)
I don’t always blog on Saturdays, but I’m posting today to share another Spend Less, Give More spotlight (previously featured – Charity:Water and Heifer International.) By now, I am sure you have heard about TOMs shoes, a one-for-one company founded by Blake Mycoskie. While TOMs now has eyewear and clothing – it all started with shoes. Why shoes? Because barefeet are just the beginning of a chain reaction of things that prevent children and adults from healthy, positive lives. Barefeet put everyone at-risk for “soil-transmitted diseases.” These diseases can cause long-term problems, and in some cases lead to death. Imagine being barefoot all the time, walking, running, playing – you’re bound to get simple scrapes and cuts (especially kids just being normal playful kids,) but even small wounds like those can lead to full-blown infection in developing countries that don’t have access to treatments. Here’s another angle you might not have thought about – many schools require students to wear uniforms in order to attend, and shoes are a mandatory part of those uniforms. Without shoes the kids aren’t able to go to school, thus preventing them from receiving an education which bars them from all sorts of opportunities in life! Do you see how simply lives can be changed through a pair of shoes? So many people have closets full of shoes, but all around the world there are people who have never owned a single pair. TOMs operates under the one-for-one model. With each pair of shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. TOMs shoes are available in men, womens, youth, and even TINY TOMs sizes. TOMs are another charitable gift that’s been given in my family several times. I own multiple pairs, and it’s great knowing that when you buy a pair someone else is getting a pair! Like the Charity:Water shirts, TOMs shoes were a conversation starter from the beginning, and what a great story to tell.
My first pair of TOMs, in the wild in Key Largo.
The TOMs team participates in shoe drops, and going into communities in need and giving them the shoes personally. You’ve probably thought about how fast kids feet can grow, and wonder what happens when the kids shoes don’t fit anymore? Well, once communities in need are identified TOMs works to keep those kids in shoes that fit, as they grow! (See TOMs How We Give page for more info.)
Blake has been all over the world, and visited so many different impoverished communities while giving out shoes. He’s seen so many people who don’t have the ability to fulfill basic needs. Recognizing other needs that could also be helped, he decided not to limit TOMs to just shoes, but expand on the one for one model. So, they launched TOMs Eyewear. They’ve got tons of different styles of sunglasses for men and women, and each purchase can benefit someone with the gift of sight in one of three ways: someone might recieve a pair of prescription eyeglasses, have a procedure that literally saves their sight, or receive medical treatment.
So, you’ve got some options. TOMs is another gift-giving idea this holiday season. Consider giving gifts with meaning, contributing your money to something that will help better lives this season!
You can like TOMs on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read the blog, and even find them on Pinterest to follow them on their one-for-one journeys, keep up with TOMs news, and even submit your own content!