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Going Barefoot for a Good Cause

I ditched my shoes on Tuesday as part of TOMS Shoes' "One Day Without Shoes."

Why couldn't it be like it was on Monday?

It was sunny and nearly 80 degrees on Monday.

That question and those weather facts kept going through my head as I walked out the door to my Atco home, barefoot, into a chilly drizzle at about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Why was I barefoot?

Short answer: Tuesday was TOMS Shoes' "One Day Without Shoes."

Long answer: At Patch, all employees are encouraged to volunteer for various causes at least five days a year. It's called "Give 5."

Some days will be spent helping community groups clean up parks. Others will be spent raising money for charities in walkathons and the like.

A few weeks ago I decided to participate in "One Day Without Shoes."

The purpose of the TOMS Shoes' project is to raise awareness to the fact that hundreds of millions of children worldwide go barefoot every day. And not by choice.

They walk to school barefoot. They walk to retrieve drinking water barefoot. They walk to the doctor barefoot.

Sadly, they contract soil-transmitted diseases and illnesses through their bare feet—diseases and illnesses that could be prevented with what we would consider a cheap pair of flip-flops.

So, back to the weather on Tuesday.

As I walked out the door to my car, before my much-necessary morning coffee, I was grumpy, as I usually am at 7:40 a.m. I was cursing Mother Nature in my head.

But I stopped myself. Quickly. (And, no, not just because the drizzle stopped after a brief time.)

How could I complain, even if it was just my inner dialogue?

After all, the millions and millions of children who go barefoot every day don't do so only on the sunny, 80-degree days. They do it on days like Tuesday, when it's raining and only in the high 40s.

What struck me as odd, though, was that not too many people raised their eyebrows at me.

Not as I walked into Dunkin' Donuts in Atco in the morning.

Not as I walked through Target in Sicklerville in the afternoon.

Not as I walked through the softball section at the Berlin Modell's to pick up a face guard for my kid in the evening.

The few who did, I handed a packet put together by TOMS Shoes to explain the purpose of "One Day Without Shoes." All were very receptive, as were the people I approached to share the information despite their not noticing I was barefoot.

Owner Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes with one simple premise: For every pair of shoes he sold, he'd donate a pair to a child in need.

To learn more about TOMS and "One Day Without Shoes," visit onedaywithoutshoes.com.

A special thanks to those of you who stopped to take a picture of me throughout my "One Day Without Shoes."

Serena Franks April 06, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing this with us Sean! This inspired me to do some early shoe shopping at Toms.com just to support this cause.
Claudia Huapaya April 06, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Barefoot at Dunkins... brave! Great story, Sean!
Kathy April 06, 2011 at 01:56 PM
What a wonderful story Sean! Not only do you talk-the-talk, you also walk-the-walk. I'd like to see this article re=posted before the event happens next year, so more people will participate. You rock!
June Kushner April 06, 2011 at 02:53 PM
June Kushner Sean, this was a great story and congrats! to you for sticking with it. Please let us know in advance next year maybe more people will be inspired to particiapate.
Trish Adkins April 07, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Pretty fab. I am impressed that your feet were so clean!

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