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Go barefoot for a good cause

CW Staff

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By Adriene LaPorte

Going to class without wearing shoes may not be considered normal, but to a group of students, it’s a way to raise awareness.

The TOMS UA Campus Club is participating in the nationwide One Day Without Shoes event. The event was created three years ago by TOMS Shoes as a way to create awareness of the struggles kids without shoes face.

This is the second year the UA club is going to participate. They will have an event on the Quad Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Participants will walk a lap around the Quad without shoes on. The group will meet on the steps of Gorgas, and anyone can attend.

TOMS, which stands for Tomorrow’s Shoes, is a California-based company that donates shoes to needy children for every pair bought.

The TOMS Web site encourages people to “go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time.”

Emily Easley, the TOMS UA team leader, said that if people don’t want to go all day without shoes, they can join in the walk around the quad to raise awareness.

Podoconiosis is a disease contracted through soil that affects children who do not have shoes available to them, and their only way of transportation is by walking.

“Podo is 100 percent avoidable by shoes. [The children] that get it become outcasts because it causes swelling of the feet and legs,” Easley said.

Nearly one million people in Ethiopia alone suffer from podoconiosis. TOMS expects to give away 300,000 pairs of shoes by the end of the year. The shoes are donated all over the world, including in the United States, according to a CBS interview on the TOMS Web site.

“I have class all day starting at 8:30 a.m., and rain isn’t going to stop me [from going without shoes]. What is that compared to living without shoes?” Sarah Hughes, a freshman majoring in political science, said.

“There is power in numbers,” said Kendra Kimbrell, a freshman majoring in telecommunication and film. “If you see a lot of people without shoes it’s going to raise curiosity.”

Depending on the weather, the group may have a blanket set up on the Quad all day with fliers and information about TOMS shoes and the children they help.

“I actually have an event at the Ferg tomorrow night, and if I go to dinner or anywhere else, it can just be another place where someone can ask me questions,” Hughes said.

For more information about TOMS or becoming a team member, visit toms.com or e-mail Emily Easley at eeasley@crimson.ua.edu or Kendra Kimbrell at kjkimbrell@crimson.ua.edu.

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Go barefoot for a good cause