Some Wilson College students go barefoot to collect shoes for others

'One Day Without Shoes' is an awareness campaign for Samaritan's Feet, which distributes footwear in impoverished nations

April 05, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Wilson College students Elizabeth Musgreave, left, and Janessa Demeule enter Lenfest Commons at the Chambersburg, Pa., campus Tuesday. The pair were participating in "One Day Without Shoes."
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — In the rural sections of Teslote Eyob Tadesse's native Ethiopia, children or entire families are often seen walking without shoes.

Tadesse joined with others from Wilson College to host "One Day Without Shoes" Tuesday as an awareness campaign and collection for Samaritan's Feet, an organization that distributes shoes to children in impoverished nations.

"This is a day to be in their feet," said Tadesse, who is studying international business.

Professor Douglas Crawford said his business policy class was discussing the business model of online shoe retailer TOMS Shoes, which gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased. TOMS Shoes hosted "One Day Without Shoes" Tuesday to educate people about challenges in developing countries.

Crawford said Tadesse and her classmates "lit up" with excitement when they started talking about holding the event at school.

Wilson's chaplain, the Rev. Rosie Magee, said she was pleasantly surprised by the campus response to their first effort with "One Day Without Shoes." She said it was hard to determine how many people participated, but they collected a few boxes of shoes and sold more than 200 raffle tickets at 50 cents each.

"I think it's one of the opportunities when people can make a difference. They have these shoes sitting in their closet, and they're not wearing them," Magee said.

Some people donated shoes they purchased specifically for the drive, Crawford said. The raffle winner could choose between a TOMS gift card or a pedicure from B.I. Designs in downtown Chambersburg, he said.

Melissa Murphy, who is a women's studies major, purchased raffle tickets at lunchtime. Her 4-year-old daughter, Mya, is enrolled in Wilson child care and did not wear shoes Tuesday. Murphy heard the girl explain to others why she was barefoot.

"She said, 'Little boys and girls in the world don't have shoes,'" Murphy said.

Some of the child care teachers went without shoes and planned to talk to the children about why, according to Murphy.

Liesel Troshak, a sports management major, said she thinks the school should hold similar events every semester.

"I think this is a great idea," she said. "It really makes people think."

Some participants, including Tadesse, went shoeless outside, while others donned sandals at points during the day. Heather Humwood, who wants to switch to a women's studies major soon, said the day reminded her that she can go to a store and have her basic needs met fairly easily.

"I think it's going to make me think a little bit more. ... Those kids in the Third World countries, they're not thought of enough," Humwood said.


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