One Day Without Shoes event raises awareness for children in need

Jacob Parker

Shoes came off across campus on Tuesday to raise awareness for people in need of shoes around the world.

Different campus organizations came together for One Day Without Shoes, an event to raise awareness for the many children around the world who lack things as simple as a pair of shoes. Activities and information tables were set up in the Preston Health Center. At one table, there were small piles of dirt and rocks for participants to experience what some people walk on daily.

The Hilltopper Organization for Latin American Students held signs outside the Downing University Center for the event.

Nashville freshman Allan Moreno and Lexington sophomore Andrea Ayoroa represented OLAS and the Soles 4 Souls fundraiser.

“It’s a charity event where we collect shoes from all over campus and donate them to children and adults around the world,” Ayoroa said.

This is Moreno’s fourth year participating in the TOMS One Day Without Shoes event.

TOMS is a company that gives away a pair of shoes when one pair is purchased.

Moreno also said walking around barefoot can help raise awareness.

“The whole point is for people to stop and ask you, ‘Hey, why are you not wearing shoes?’ so that you can tell them,” he said.

Compared to what some children have to walk on, Moreno said going barefoot on campus isn’t a big deal.

“For me, this is nothing,” he said. “Can you imagine those kids who walk three miles without shoes to go to school?”

Ayoroa said OLAS was inspired to participate because they are a minority on campus and they empathize.

“A lot of my peers struggled to get to this country and they’ve lived in poverty,” she said. “We empathize with people who don’t have shoes, and we want children in Africa to be able to have shoes.”

St. Louis graduate student Samantha Hartman said this was an easy awareness campaign for college students to become involved with.

“I think the really cool thing about our event is that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money to come and do it, which is really good for college students because a lot of them don’t make a lot of money,” she said.

She said it’s awful when people around the world who need shoes don’t have them.

“Everybody here usually has a pair of shoes, so if they have an old pair, it’s very easy for them to give a pair away,” she said.

Hartman said she hopes that next year they can raise even more awareness.

“There are people in need that we can very easily help with very little time, effort and money,” she said.