St. Augustine goes barefoot with rest of nation

By Caroline Young
Photo by David Castagno

One Flagler student thinks that walking around St. Augustine without shoes for a day will give her ringworms.

Sophomore Josh Weaver, a TOM’s Shoes campus representative, said this is exactly what A Day Without Shoes is about.

“This is kind of the point,” Weaver said. “These children are walking across lava with open sores and getting cut.”

Weaver explained this to her and made her realize this is why A Day Without Shoes is happening on April 8.

The TOM’s Shoes Web site says that ADWS is a national event that helps provide awareness of the difference a basic pair of shoes can make on a child’s life. TOM’s wants people to imagine a life without shoes, whether it is for part of the day or the entire day.

Children in countries such as Argentina and Ethiopia walk on unsafe terrain in the heat and cold and must treat infections after each walk. The cuts and sores on their feet can create serious problems, such as Podoconiosis, which currently affects between 500,000 and 1 million people in Ethiopia. The disease is completely avoidable with feet protection and basic hygiene.

Ashley Nowlin, a freshman transfer who has been involved with TOM’s for nearly a year said, “It would be awesome if people went out and bought TOM’s because it is one for one, they buy a pair, TOM’s sends one to a child in need.”

Nowlin is passionate about TOM’s and hopes ADWS will get more people involved with the organization. “You don’t have to own a pair of shoes to be involved,” she said.

If students cannot afford a pair, they can at least let other people know about TOM’s mission by going barefoot.

“If you go in the dining hall and you’re not wearing shoes, someone’s going to be like, why aren’t you wearing shoes?” Weaver said. “So you can tell them the story and them to check out TOM’s shoes.”

Weaver hopes for ADWS to expose as many people as possible to TOM’s. The event’s Facebook group has at least 150 people in the St. Augustine area committed to going shoeless on April 8.

“It keeps getting bigger and bigger every Day Without Shoes,” Weaver said.

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