HIGH POINT, N.C., April 17, 2013 – Anyone walking around High Point University’s campus Tuesday may have noticed something a little unusual – students not wearing any shoes. There was a good reason. Students were working to raise awareness for children who don’t have basic footwear by participating in the national TOMS Shoes event, “One Day Without Shoes.”
The event was held on the Slane outdoor basketball courts and included feet painting, Zumba dancing and fundraising events. It was followed by a barefoot march around campus.
On the courts, participants could find shocking facts about the dangers that children who don’t have shoes face on daily basis:
• Podoconiosis – 4,000,000 people have podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring soil-based disease.
• Hookworm – 740,000,000 people are affected by hookworm, which can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment.
• Dangerous Debris – 30,000 people live on one landfill in the Philippines, where many are without shoes and are exposed to broken glass, syringes and debris.
• Jiggers – 1,890,000 Kenyan children are infected by jiggers – burrowing fleas that cause a painful infection.
To combat these problems, TOMS Shoes gives shoes to children around the world to protect them against injury and help prevent disease and soil-transmitted infections.
Students participating in “One Day Without Shoes” said it’s a great way to raise awareness and get more people involved.
“I saw photos from last year and decided to check out the club,” said club member Jennifer Pascale. “Now this is a passion of mine.”
Students say it’s also a good reminder of how fortunate they are.
“It’s been hard to go without shoes,” said freshman Jennifer Swiger. “You really take for granted how your feet feel in shoes.”
Organizer Ellen Barker said she was happy with the way the event turned out. Her leadership at HPU earned her the chance to go to Nicaragua this summer with TOMS Shoes and hand out shoes to children.
“I can’t wait to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” says Barker. “It’s the chance of a lifetime.”
To read more about Barker’s Giving Trip, click here: TOMS Giving Trip