Monday, June 16, 2014

TOMS've heard of them, right?

In one week we will be back in Burkina Faso and one of the things that we will jump back into is the distribution of TOMS Shoes to thousands of children.

We have partnered with TOMS Shoes for a year now and I think now is a good time to reflect on this past year and what this partnership means.

A year ago we were just getting started. We had some basic ideas of how we were going to tackle giving shoes and where we planned to give them. We have really learned so much in this past year. We learned how many distributions we would need to hold each week to give all of the shoes that were sent to us before the next shipment arrived. We learned how to handle 2000 children at a time excited to receive shoes. We learned how many volunteers we would need for any given number of children expected to show up. We learned how many shoes to bring so that we had enough, but not too many. We learned that the children of Burkina will stand for hours out in the sun and wait patiently without cutting in front of someone else or pushing and shoving. We learned that there are some pretty big feet in Burkina. We learned that there are some pretty damaged feet in Burkina. We learned that the children didn't want to dirty their new shoes so they didn't put them on right away. We learned that children in Burkina never get tired of chasing a balloon or trying to catch bubbles.


And we learned a lot about TOMS Shoes. They really do give hundreds of thousands of shoes to kids in need. They continue to support the communities so that children will receive shoes every 6 months and not just one time. They encourage the education of health and hygiene during distributions. The shoes they send are sturdy, quality shoes. They provide every tool necessary to help facilitate these distributions. They help offset the costs for their partners and don't want giving shoes to be a burden, but an enhancement to the work their partners are already doing. They encourage hiring temporary help at distributions which give some income to local people. We have been able to hire people with disabilities who would otherwise not find work or worth, to help with distributions.

And really, it's about the healthy feet and smiles. It's been a good year partnering with TOMS!!