More than a month ago I attended TOMS’ One Day Without Shoes in BGC. It is not the kind of event I usually attend although it is something I truly support. I’m not very vocal about this, but when I was in college, the only organization activity I gladly participated in was the outreach program. I’m a softie when it comes to the elderly. But I don’t like people throwing their good deeds in your face or plastering ‘donated by (insert politician’s name here)’ on projects because I find it too hypocritical for my liking. No one wants to be called a goody two shoes.. But I guess writing about this cause and my experience would raise more awareness. Hopefully soliciting more support for next year’s event. 🙂

On the fifth year of celebration of One Day Without Shoes in the Philippines, and eighth globally, throngs of friends of TOMS crowded to Track 30th Park in Bonifacio Global City to walk barefoot—so children don’t have to. Piles of deserted shoes created an interesting montage: everything from flip-flops to office pumps, high-heeled wedges to sneakers and ballet flats, reminding us about how we are the lucky ones—the ones who are positioned to lend a helping hand to the less fortunate.

 The event venue—usually a track for runners and health enthusiasts—was transformed into mini fair grounds with the participation of Macho Nacho, Phatboys Handcrafted Ice Cream Sandwiches, Hattendo Japanese Cream Buns, Wingstop, and Pink Berry. Entertainment was provided by the drum circle of the Adinkra Lumads Djembe Community, and the poi and hula hoop dancers and flow arts performers of Planet Zips. They were joined by ukulele musicians and buskers. The combination of tasty snacks and great entertainment provided the warm ambience of a relaxing walk in the park.
 TOMS Philippines’ representatives Dimples and Cookie La’O encouraged everybody to join the cause, which was as simple as participation in this year’s social media campaign. The day celebrated an abandonment of vanity and comfort to join in solidarity with the millions of children across the globe that do not have access to basic footwear—something we often take for granted.
 During the annual celebration of its anniversary, for the cost of a post on social media, a child in need receives a pair of shoes for free. This year’s tag line was “TAKE A PIC = GIVE SHOES.”  All the participants had to do was use the tag #withoutshoes on Instagram. The photo was counted towards the number of shoes that TOMS will be giving this 2015 to children in need.

 All over the world, hundreds of thousands walked barefoot on May 21, and nearly 300,000 people posted their bare feet on Instagram. Thanks to the global participation, exactly 296,243 children will receive a new pair of shoes each. To put this number into perspective, TOMS reached 1 million shoes given away in 2010, just four years after the company was launched. With this campaign, TOMS was able to give almost a third of a million in a matter of two short weeks.

To promote the cause even more and have more people joining, we paraded a few blocks around BGC without our shoes.  It was a rather cloudy day so the cement wasn’t as brutally hot as I imagined it would be during noon. It was tolerable because the walk only took a few minutes, but imagine how those who do this everyday would feel. The idea of kids being deprived of something as basic as footwear is quite disconcerting. I’m glad there are events such as this that truly helps in raising awareness.
I’ve always been very conscious about my feet so I was kinda hesitant to post a photo, but then again, it was for a good cause. It’s not every day we can have a big impact on someone else’s life with something as trivial as an Instagram photo. <3 Oh, and talk about putting something positive out on the universe and have it come back to you.. when I came home from the event, the result of the recent CPA licensure exam was already posted. And I passed! To say that it was overwhelming is obviously an understatement. Thank you TOMS Philippines and ARC PR for the eye-opening experience. 😀