Kateland Dittig

Equinox Staff


Tying one’s shoe laces for the first time is a milestone in a young child’s life, unfortunately millions of children around the world never have the privilege to even learn how to make the “bunny ears” and loop them into a knot. On Sunday, April 1, around 120 students, faculty, and other members of the community participated in the first Barefoot Walk hosted by Circle K.

Through registration, raffle tickets, and other forms of donations, $1,092 was raised. That money ultimately will provide children around the globe in third-world countries as well as in the Keene community with 72 pairs of TOMS shoes.

Participants registered and were given the option to either wear their boots, sneakers, and sandals or give their shoes up for hostage until the walk was over. If they chose to go barefoot, they were then given a yellow bracelet that read, “Start from the feet up.”

The majority of attendants took the challenge and walked the streets of Keene, risking stubbing their toes on a curb. The on-campus community service club, Circle K, put on the walk and wanted to send an awareness message by collaborating with TOMS, a company that will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, a one for one ratio. Circle K was looking to supply shoes for low income children in the Keene area who are impoverished and can’t afford new shoes.

Through TOMS there was a possibility to provide even more children in foreign countries with shoes as well. Anna Muserallo, youth service administrator, explained the process of how the club is going to work with the Monadnock Family Services to find the children who need new shoes the most.

Muserallo said, “A lot of children don’t have the right size shoes or they are worn out hand-me-downs from their sisters and brothers.” Junior Kenny Faria participated in the mile walk down Main Street barefoot.

Faria said, “I want to experience what those small children have to go through, if they can do it, so can I.” Vice President of Circle K, Becca Lazinsk, stressed that the participants were only walking one mile, while children around the world have to do it every single day without choice. Lazinsk said, “They don’t get to go home and put on their comfy UGG slippers and their nice New Balance sneakers, that is what they are dealing with, their roads are so much worse than nice pavement.”

Circle K President Kelly Rowles said she was thought it was a great turnout and was pleased with the campus movement. Foot cutouts that students could sign their name on were sold and hung up in the student center for one dollar. Junior Britt Kunkel was unable to make the walk because of work, but she donated money and signed a blue foot. She wished she were able to go and support that cause.

Kunkel said, “It is great that there are some companies out there that aren’t all about profit and are actually willing to donate and raise awareness, it inspires others, especially college students, they have such energy and can make a difference.”

There was also a kick-off event the evening before the walk where students listened to speakers and watched the documentary about how TOMS shoes originated. The whole documentary showed the importance of shoes and how many children in developing countries are in jeopardy because of being barefoot. The reality is that all of this could be prevented if they simply had a pair of shoes to run around in.

Rowles said, “I think it’s important to realize that there are so many fundraisers for Africa and world poverty, but there is poverty right here in Keene and I think students don’t really realize that. We are kind of in a bubble in college, with everything going around us, no one is really aware. Through this barefoot walk we are trying to help as many children as we can around the world.”


Kateland Dittig can be contacted at kdittig@keene-equinox.com


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