In 2006, a man named Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina, where he witnessed children running around barefoot. His trip inspired him to create TOMS Shoes, an organization that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased.
TOMS inspired Brianna Madden, a UNF public relations junior, to create a TOMS club on campus to spread the word about the benefits of buying its shoes.
“If more students knew about the organization and what it does to help kids in need, then they would become more passionate about it, like I am,” Madden said.
TOMS shoes are comfortable, affordable and come in a variety of shapes, colors and styles. While Madden said she owns TOMS shoes, the club is just an awareness project.
“We don’t work for TOMS Shoes, were not selling them, we’re just letting people know about it,” Madden said. “It’s a movement.”
Crystal Massey, a UNF biology junior and the club’s secretary, said she joined immediately once she heard about the idea.
“I had to be involved,” Massey said. “We’re just getting started, so we haven’t had much planned so far, but this fall we’re going to come in with a bang.”
Concurrent with the new club’s arrival on campus, a nationwide event called One Day Without Shoes, hosted by the people at TOMS, took place April 5. It was an all-day event where everyone was asked to spend the entire day barefoot.
“If you see our whole school going without shoes, you’re going to wonder what’s going on,” Madden said. “It will increase the knowledge of TOMS across campus, for us, and for everyone else to spread the word across their community.”
Madden and Massey said they have already generated a large group of students wanting to become involved in the movement and help the club spread the word about TOMS Shoes.
“These kids are getting diseases from the soil, having to walk to school without shoes,” Madden said. “It’s just not fair.”
Madden said since the word “tomorrow” couldn’t fit on the shoes, Mycoskie abbreviated it to TOMS, to stand for wanting a better tomorrow. She also said the organization has donated shoes to more than 24 underdeveloped counties, and it has donated over a million pairs of shoes since its inception.
Visit toms.com for more information about the organization and to snag a pair of shoes for you and someone in need from another country.