Buffalo, New York (NAPSI) - Making a difference for millions of children around the world could be as easy as taking off your shoes.


In many developing countries, children walk barefoot for miles every day to get to school and clean water. Shoes protect feet from rough paths, sharp objects, contaminated soil, and the cold and heat.

Shoes act as a simple barrier, providing an extra layer of protection against soil-transmitted infections such as podoconiosis, a debilitating disease that affects 4 million people worldwide, and hookworm, a disease that affects 740 million people.

Also, many children are not allowed to attend school because shoes are a required part of their uniform.

To raise awareness of the millions of children who grow up without shoes, at risk of disease and infection, TOMS is hosting its fifth annual One Day Without Shoes event on April 10.

You are encouraged to take part by doing whatever it is you do during that day, without shoes. Go to work, wash your car, play at the park—and when people ask why you’re not wearing shoes, tell them. Last year, more than 1 million people went without shoes at events in over 25 countries around the globe.

It was on a trip to Argentina that the company’s founder, Blake Mycoskie, witnessed the devastating effects of children growing up without shoes. He discovered that having a simple pair of shoes can prevent disease and infection and allow access to education. He created his company on a One for One™ model; for every pair of shoes purchased, a new pair is given to a child in need.

Shoes are given through a network of humanitarian organizations, called Giving Partners, that serve impoverished communities. Each organization provides TOMS shoes to children in need along with pre-existing health, education and community development programs.

“We believe that a single idea can make a big difference in the world, as well as encourage others to share their ideas about what they believe can change the world,” said Mycoskie.

By working to change the world, social entrepreneurs such as Mycoskie are also changing the marketplace. Amidst a struggling economy, as consumers are more cautious and selective with their purchasing power, many are turning to companies that give, rather than other brands on the market.

The company encourages neighborhoods, classrooms and corporations to take a stand and host a One Day Without Shoes event in their community. To learn more, visit www.onedaywithoutshoes.com/learn-more.