Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buy one, give one

Meaning.

Purpose.

Hope.

The older I get, the more I feel the need to have those three things in my life. I'm not a big fan of "things" and I don't feel the need to spend lots of money to keep up with the Jones's or to be in with the most current trends. I had heard about Tom's but had also found them to be more expensive than my budget would allow. Besides, they were ugly!

I am a sucker for comfort, though, and a couple of my co-workers ranted and raved about how much they loved the comfort of their Tom's. I had also heard that Tom's gives away a pair of shoes for each pair purchased. So, when I saw Whole Foods was having a 20% off sale on their Tom's, I decided to invest. They're comfortable, trendy (despite their unattractive nature), *and* on sale. I had to try them.

Two days later, I'm absolutely sold on them--not only because they're so unbelievably comfortable that I keep them on even while I'm sitting around at home, but also because I love their concept. It's a for-profit company with giving built into the original business model. In other words, their charity is sustainable. The founder isn't saying, "If I make over a billion dollars this year, I'll give a few poor kids shoes." The founder isn't saying that he personally has to have X dollars in order to live to his comfort standard. The founder said from the beginning that the whole model would be built on giving away a pair of shoes for every pair sold. I guess he could go back on his word and say he wants all of the profit from those shoes he's giving away, but I don't see that as very likely...or very smart.

I decided to watch the documentary that Tom's encourages you to screen at your home with friends (it's the one at the top of this blog). I love documentaries so I truly enjoy the fact that my shoes are connected with something that is so meaningful and purposeful. Having been to Africa, I witnessed people without shoes who are exposed to the "jigger." You can read more about it and watch a short, but unsettling video of the explanation (scroll to the bottom) here: http://www.digidrift.com/jiggers-chigoe-flea-the-hidden-african-killer/. Many Africans die from jiggers, death which could be prevented.

Though shoes aren't the only solution, people without shoes are definitely more exposed to potential hazards. I am thankful for all of my material and non-material blessings that I'm granted on a daily basis. Hopefully with my new purchase, I can also be thankful that one more child somewhere on another continent is receiving something to be thankful for as well.


Facts from Toms.com website:
Why Shoes? Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:
  • A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause. 
  • Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. 
  • 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.
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