TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, they donate a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. The organization relies on the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good.
It began in 2006, when an American traveler, Blake Mycoskie, befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by caring TOMS customers.
As of August 2009, TOMS has given over 150,000* pairs of shoes to children in need through its One for One model and plans to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world in 2009.
" The idea of donating shoes addresses a simple need for children. Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or just getting around, these children are at risk.
Walking is often the primary mode of transportation in developing countries. Children can walk for miles to get food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren't possible barefoot.
Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.
Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential."