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Hundreds Go Barefoot to Raise Awareness of the Global Need for Shoes

Hundreds of people are going barefoot today as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the global need for shoes.

Organized by TOMS Shoes, a company founded by Christian businessman Blake Mycoskie, the One Day Without Shoes event has drawn participants from around the world. The Assemblies of God-affiliated Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., is serving as a pilot school for what they hope becomes a growing annual initiative.

“The idea for One Day Without Shoes was to kind of raise awareness of what life is like without shoes, to kind of think about the people in the world who are living without shoes and what they are susceptible to as a result of that,” said Allison Dominguez, a public relations representative for TOMS Shoes, which gives away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.

Reporting that 40 percent of people worldwide lack shoes, the Los Angeles-based company has donated 200,000 shoes to needy children worldwide since 2006. In rural areas where people walk through volcanic soil, such as in Ethiopia, going barefoot can lead to podoconiosis, a disfiguring illness that causes swelling and ulcers in the feet and lower legs.

“[One Day Without Shoes] really fits who we are,” said James L. Davis, vice president of development at Southeastern, which presented Mycoskie with its Servant Leader Award last month. “We believe servant leaders are world changers, so the whole premise of giving something away and serving the community and serving the world really fit for us. It was perfect in every way.”

Southeastern hoped to have 100 percent participation today, with students filing shoeless everywhere except to the school’s dining facilities, where bare feet would violate health codes. The Southeastern students are also participating in a documentary that will be used to encourage other colleges to get involved in future One Day Without Shoes campaigns.

“They’re doing exactly what we want to do-spreading the awareness and getting everyone involved in what we’re trying to do,” Dominguez said.

Mycoskie, who won third place in The Amazing Race II in 2002, said the idea for TOMS came after he befriended the children of an Argentine village and found that they lacked shoes. He thought his tech company would help pay for the shoe venture, but a newspaper article generated so much business he decided to sell the tech company and focus exclusively on TOMS, which refers to “creating a better tomorrow.”

Nearly 200 One Day Without Shoes events are being held nationwide, with attorneys at an Ohio law firm putting aside their wingtips to go barefoot for the day. Five events are being held internationally.

In addition to going without shoes today, Southeastern students purchased TOMS’ canvas slip-ons to sponsor shoes for needy children in the U.S. and abroad. Davis said a team of students also will accompany TOMS representatives on a “shoe drop” later this year

(Source: Charisma News Online)

Christians Called to Reject Consumer Lifestyle

LONDON – A U.K.-based network of Christians geared towards living more simply is calling on believers to use the recession as an opportunity to follow a less-consumerist lifestyle.

Breathe, whose tagline is “Less Stuff, More Life,” is inviting Christians to take the “Promise of Life” pledge to live more simply over a 12-month period. Christians who take the pledge commit to “savor what we have, pray for what we need,” “tread lightly on the earth,” and “share freely our homes and our things.”

Breathe’s annual conference on April 25 will further explore how Christians can live less consumerist, more thankful and more generous lives.

“When we started Breathe four years ago, we had no idea how global events would unfold,” said Mark Powley, associate pastor at St. Paul’s Hammersmith and co-founder of Breathe.

“We’ve talked to Christians across the country and have found a growing desire and need to live more simply and to find support and practical ways out of materialism,” he added.

The Rev. Simon Downham, vicar and senior pastor of St. Paul’s Hammersmith, said there was a need for the church to develop an effective response to recent research indicating a shift in British society away from the importance of material possessions.

“There is a new vocabulary of crisis and response,” Downham said. “Climate change, credit crunch, G20, carbon offset, fiscal stimulus, quantitative easing … At the very least, our lust for consumption lays exposed for want of proper limits. At a time such as this, Breathe is more crucial than ever.”

The Breathe conference is being held in partnership with Tearfund, Stewardship, A Rocha and Formation. The keynote speaker will be 24-7 Prayer’s Pete Greig.

(Source: The Christian Post)

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