Angela Wilson gave her shoes to the Here on the Corner clothing boutique on College Avenue Tuesday morning, then she attended class, rode her bike home and went to the grocery store, all with bare feet.
The political science junior was apprehensive about stepping on glass or picking up germs from the ground, but wanted to raise awareness for TOMS Shoes’ “One For One” cause during One Day Without Shoes.
“I always thought it was a great idea,” Wilson said.
Blake Mycoskie started TOMS Shoes after discovering children in developing countries go most of their lives without shoes, contracting diseases through soil and infections from cuts and sores on their feet, according to the TOMS website.
For every pair of TOMS sold, the organization donates a pair of shoes to a child.
Drawing and painting freshman Sally Jimenez, who is also getting a certificate in human rights, started working at Here on the Corner this year and wanted to keep the event going.
This was Here on the Corner’s eighth One Day Without Shoes event.
Jimenez spent the day sitting outside the store, trying to convince people to take off their shoes and holding about 30 pairs of shoes for safekeeping.
She convinced several people to take off their shoes in passing.
The shop gave out nail polish and coupons for a free foot massage to all who braved the day without shoes. Participants were also entered into a raffle for a free pair of TOMS.
“The point is to create awareness that there are kids out there who don’t have shoes,” Jimenez said. “We don’t have to keep thinking about ourselves all the time.”
Jimenez went barefoot all day and nearly stepped in bird feces. However, going one day without shoes was the least of her worries, Jimenez said.
Jimenez was homeless in Phoenix for about five years as a child and had to frequently go without shoes.
“Sometimes I had to wear shoes that were too small or too big,” Jimenez said.
She remembers the pain of having to walk barefoot on hot pavement.
Jimenez’s family was poor and sometimes she would have to leave a house with little notice, losing her shoes in the shuffle.
“As Americans, when we think of people who are in need, we think of people in other countries,” Jimenez said. “I think the best way to spread awareness is to start in our own country.”
Biological science freshman Katrece Swenson took off her shoes at 9 a.m. and spent the day barefoot in class.
Swenson first took interest in the cause when she saw children in Guatemala walking barefoot through jungles.
It was not only that they did not have shoes, but also that they wear the same clothes every day, Swenson said.
“It’s the little things we take for granted,” Swenson said.
Nursing sophomore Erna Thomas promoted the Native American Business Organization’s participation in One Day Without Shoes and encouraged Native American students to participate.
Thomas grew up on the Navajo Nation, located in northeast Arizona, and said many members of the tribe go without shoes because the cost of driving several hours to the closest store is too high.
After Thomas explained the event, several people also removed their shoes, she said.
“It had a ripple effect,” Thomas said.
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