I bought my first pair of TOMS shoes as soon as I read about their commitment to One for One. This was in 2008, before they became a style statement. I was on board immediately when I read about children who could not go to school because they did not have shoes and about children who were contracting infections due to injuries on their feet because they did not have shoes. At the time I was a mom to only one small child, but I could not imagine not being able to provide shoes for her. Nor could I imagine being a child who desperately wanted an education but could not get one due to a lack of shoes.
When I learned that TOMS provides a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair that is purchased, I ordered my first pair. I remember sending a picture of them to my sister telling her they were my “hippie shoes”. TOMS was so unique in its approach to giving as the foundation of their business it definitely felt like counterculture.
Fast forward to 2015: to date TOMS has given more than 35 million pairs of new shoes to children in need.
They have been giving in El Salvador, where my husband is from, since 2010. Shoes are integrated into programs in education, health education (sanitation and hygiene) and nutrition. TOMS employees have also had the opportunity to go on a Giving Trip to visit one of these partners, Save the Children, to learn how shoes are integrated and distributed through their community health centers and clinics.
TOMS has been giving in Costa Rica, where my in-laws live, since 2011. Shoes are integrated into TOMS’ Giving Partners’ work in education and youth empowerment. For example, one of the Giving Partners uses TOMS Shoes to help complete school uniform requirements, which often include a pair of black shoes.
TOMS also gives shoes in the US. Working with Save The Children, TOMS began integrating shoe distributions into the organization’s initiatives in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, where many families live near or below the poverty line.
I learned about TOMS newest One for One initiative, TOMS Bags, at a conference I attended a few weeks ago. When you purchase a bag from TOMS new collection, TOMS provides a safe birth kit for a mother in need. This kit helps to keep mom and baby safe from conditions that would otherwise endanger their health in the days after childbirth.
If you are already a TOMS fan, you know they started with the classic slip-on shoe and now have an entire line of super stylish shoes. Their commitment to style and great products has carried through to the new TOMS Bags as well. At the conference I received the Olive Waxed Canvas Trekker Backpack and I love it. It’s perfect for day-to-day as it’s not a full size backpack, yet I could easily fit my 13″ MacBook in it. My girls like to draw when we go out to eat and we are waiting for our food, so it’s been great to carry a sketch book or two as well as my own things.
Another bag I love and is on my personal wish list is the Vachetta Patterned Perforated Leather Jetset Hip Pack because it looks perfect for summer date nights.
They have so many great options, each of which will provide a safe birth kit to a mother and baby in need when you make a purchase. Click here to see the TOMS Bag Collection, the Newest One for One from TOMS.com.
Much like it’s hard for me to imagine not being able to provide shoes for my child or not having access to education due to lack of shoes, it’s hard for me to imagine not having a safe and clean environment in which to give birth and keep my child safe. Infection is the leading cause of death among new mothers and babies worldwide. What a privilege to be able to make someone’s life better just because I bought a great bag.
Are you already a TOMS fan? What sold you first: the style or the giving? I’d love if you shared a TOMS story with me. I am such a super fan of this company.
To be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I received a bag with no conditions attached. I am a TOMS affiliate, so when you click through my blog and make a purchase I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase which goes towards the cost of maintaining this blog. It does not affect the price you pay, nor does it affect the One for One giving associated with your purchase.