Students, employees bare feet for One Day Without Shoes 

April 9, 2010

PLAINVIEW – Thursday morning brought cool temperatures to Plainview, but that didn’t stop Allen Duncan from arriving at Dr. Shelley Tapp’s 8 a.m. business class with bare feet.

Duncan, a senior religion major from Rio Vista, was one of several Wayland Baptist University students and a handful of faculty and staff members who participated in the One Day Without Shoes promotion sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership and Activities.

According to Teresa Moore, Director of Student Leadership and Involvement, the day is part of a nationwide awareness event by TOMS Shoes, a company that provides a pair of its simple canvas shoes for a needy child around the world for every pair sold to customers. In its third year, One Day Without Shoes focuses on awareness about the number of children and others worldwide who live without shoes and the diseases and sicknesses they encounter because of that poverty.

“Through everyday encounters with domestic poverty, we are reminded to appreciate having food and shelter, but most of us all but forget about our feet. Food, shelter, AND shoes facilitate life’s fundamentals,” said the TOMS website in explaining the event. “Imagine a life without shoes; constantly aware of the ground in front of you, suffering regular cuts and scrapes, tending to infection after each walk, and enduring not only terrain, but heat and cold.”

While American children enjoy the freedom of bare feet, few endure the diseases and injuries suffered by those worldwide who don’t have a choice of footwear like most Americans do.

That’s why Moore said her office wanted the students to get involved and become aware of the simple blessings they have in choosing to wear shoes. After obtaining approval on campus from administrators and faculty – several of whom opted to join the activity, notably in the School of Religion – Moore emailed students of the simple opportunity to join in and was amazed at the response.

“I got more emails thanking me for doing this from students than I’ve gotten on anything else we’ve done,” Moore said.

Later that afternoon, the Student Activities office hosted a simple come-and-go walk around the track at Hilliard Field to cap off the day for those who participated or wanted to get involved even at day’s end. Students trickled in to circle the track, walking barefoot on the textured red surface a few laps at a time before heading back to their dorms or cars.

Duncan was there with friends, wrapping up his day without shoes in a quiet fashion, lapping the track and chatting. Ericka Miller, coordinator of student activities, even brought her Great Dane, Jadyn, to join in the walk, complete with her own commemorative t-shirt with the bare footprint of the logo replaced with a paw print. Moore brought her children, Grayson and McKayleigh, to participate and took the chance to teach a lesson on blessings.

“It was amazing. It was cold and it hurt, and every time you took a step, it reminded you of what those kids go through every day,” Moore said. “Even my own kids asked about why (the children overseas) don’t have shoes.”

Moore said the event made an impact on the WBU students as well, who mentioned often to her about the discomfort of the “concrete prairie” in the middle of the campus with its gravelly surface.

“One girl just kept saying, ‘I take my shoes for granted,’” she said.