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Shoe Shopping Meets Voluntourism

April 15, 2008

TOMSYou want to help people, and you want to travel, and you want to buy cute shoes. All are valid ambitions to have in life. And now, you may be able to do all three.

TOMS is a Santa Monica-based company that kicked into gear when its founder, Blake Mycoskie, visited Argentina and saw that many of the children there had no shoes. He decided to sell shoes in the US and then donate a pair of shoes for each pair he sold. His designs, and his big-hearted idea, took off and he’s given away more than 65,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina and South Africa in the past two years.

A recent article in BUST Magazine says that TOMS is hoping to take others along on the shoe drops. Every pair is given out by hand (check out the YouTube video), so you could experience the joy of seeing a child run around in his or her first pair of shoes, and also spend time exploring the surrounding area and taking in a little culture. Or you could do some local shoe shopping.

There aren’t any details about shoe tourism on the TOMS website, but there is a form you can fill out for more information. Let them know you’re interested, or see what you can do to help a trip like this happen.

Even if a shoe tour doesn’t sound perfect to you, maybe it will get you thinking about something that does. Do you want to tour Vietnam handing out school supplies? Maybe pass out soccer balls in Chile? There are lots of needs out there, and many ways you can find to fill them.

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