A true entrepreneur, Blake Mycoskie started five successful businesses by the age of 30. As part of a promise to revisit every country he traveled to while on The Amazing Race, Blake returned to Argentina. While the sights and sounds of Argentina were inspiring, the poverty in which many lived truly moved him. In May 2006, Blake founded TOMS Shoes on a simple premise — With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. In less than 3 years, TOMS has given approximately 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia and the U.S., and is now sold in over twenty-one countries worldwide.
A TOMS Shoe Drop is actually a more intimate experience than the name might suggest. TOMS does not simply ‘drop’ shoes all over the world, but rather, volunteers hand place pairs of new shoes on children’s feet.
In October 2006, I returned to Argentina with friends, family and TOMS employees to fulfill the promise I had made earlier that year, and that was when the Shoe Drop was born. We brought 10,000 pairs of matched shoes thanks to purchases by caring customers. If you’ve seen our documentary, For Tomorrow, you can tell we were just as excited to gift the shoes as the children were to receive them. It was trial and error in the beginning to find the best method of efficiently distributing the shoes, but any Shoe Drop volunteer can attest to how quickly you fall into a rhythm and it becomes rewarding and effortless.
Since the first Shoe Drop in 2006, the program has grown and evolved. Friends of TOMS was established soon after in 2006, in order to coordinate the volunteer experience and make it possible for customers, fans, and friends to join us on Shoe Drops in Argentina and right here in the U.S.
I’ve participated in 13 Shoe Drops since the beginning, and it’s beyond refreshing to step away from a rigorous schedule to be humbled by the experience. Delivering those matched pairs of shoes is what re-charges my spirit and keeps me constantly searching for ways TOMS can bring more and more shoes to children around the world.