Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Inner-city school kids in San Salvador show off their new shoes.
It's a beautiful thing when the goal of helping others turns into a successful business that allows you to help even more. Such is the case with TOMS shoes.

Kip and Natasha unloading the many boxes
of shoes from the truck.
Started in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS has evolved into a successful footwear (and now eye wear) company that has gained international acclaim for its "One for One" campaign. 

For each pair of shoes sold to consumers, TOMS distributes another pair to a child who can't afford them. 

So far, the company has distributed more than two million pairs of shoes to needy kids worldwide. They also raise awareness for their cause through the "One Day Without Shoes" campaign.

What does this have to do with us, you ask?  

Well, thanks again to our friend Phil (of Reto del Volcan fame), we were introduced to Natasha, Communications Director for an El Salvador based NGO, Glasswing International. And now, thanks to TOMS and Glasswing, we kind of smell like feet. 

Happy kids hold up their brand new pairs of TOMS shoes.
Kip has a group of kids in stitches with one of
his goofy Spanish jokes.

In addition to working on health and education initiatives, Glasswing partners with TOMS to bring shoes to underprivileged kids in El Salvador. We jumped at the opportunity to be part of the distribution team for one of San Salvador's biggest public schools. 

Our day began early, as we arrived at the school and unloaded boxes and boxes of different sized shoes from the truck. Once the boxes were arranged by size, we were ready to meet the kids and get started. 

Have you ever tried to put a cloth shoe onto the sweaty-socked foot of an eight-year-old? Trust us, it's a lot tougher than it looks! 

Together with the help of some very patient and dedicated 8th grade student volunteers, we sized and fit hundreds of kids from multiple classes of K-8 graders with a brand new pair of shoes.

All was great until a group of boys came in right after recess. They had been playing soccer, and yes, as they jokingly pointed out to us and to each other, their feet were not exactly downy fresh. We held our breath. They laughed hilariously. 
Many were so excited, they didn't put their other shoes back on, wearing the new pair for the rest of the day.  

Liz fits a sweet girl with her brand new pair of TOMS.
We had a great time laughing with the kids as they excitedly yelled the few words they knew in English and held up their new shoes. Though timid at first, they really started hamming it up for the camera, as shown in the photo below. 
This class gives us some goofy poses while they hold up their new shoes.
A big thanks to TOMS, our fellow volunteers, and Glasswing International for letting us be a part of their program. 

For those interested in volunteering in El Salvador, Glasswing has a variety of individual and corporate volunteer opportunities, in addition to helping out with TOMS. Check out their website for more information.

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