Whitney Cyr

Managing Executive Editor


A crowd of Keene State College students got a feel for what going shoeless actually meant as they participated in Circle K’s event, The Barefoot Walk on Sunday, April 28.

Whitney Cyr / Managing Executive Editor President of Circle K Brittany Bianchi, left, walks in Circle K’s annual Barefoot Walk for children across the globe in need of clothing—particularly shoes.

Circle K raised over $700 for their cause. The event, in its second year, requires students to donate five dollars in order to join. That money goes into buying a pair of TOMS shoes. The company itself, TOMS, has customers purchase a pair of shoes, and that purchase is matched with a pair of shoes going to a child in need around the globe. So for every pair of shoe bought, it also provides a pair of shoes for someone in dire need. The crowd of participants gladly took off their shoes and walked from the student center lawn, down Appian Way, to downtown and back. Participants in the event made signs with some unknown statistics. Out of the 2.2 billion children worldwide, one billion are living in poverty. Of that billion, three million aren’t even afforded the commodity of shoes. Alex Petrilli, a senior and Vice President of Circle K, said, “shoes are very important even though they seem like a luxury to us.”

Petrilli said she helped plan and prepare for the event, noting that children growing up without shoes is a problem that is overlooked. As part of the community service organization, Petrilli said the group works on doing small service events on a weekly basis, but last year, the group started the Barefoot Walk as one of their larger events. As a whole, Petrilli said community service is a rewarding experience. “It’s good to give back to those around you and other people around the world.”

Another member of the Circle K e-board, Elizabeth Baptie, a senior, is the treasurer of the group.

“I’m the money girl. I got us the Pepsi Grant to put on this event, so I was in charge of getting the food and the t-shirts,” she said.

“The Barefoot Walk raises awareness for people in need and it’s good to give back to the community.” She explained that the donations from the event would be used to purchase shoes for children in Keene, but that through the company, a donation would be made for a pair of shoes to go to children in need worldwide.

Freshman Shayna Burque said she participated because she also believed the event went to a good cause.

“I found the sign a few weeks ago. I’m on the dance team and we like to participate in these events,” she said. Also on the dance team, senior Nicky Kondash, said she was also interested in coming to the community service event.

“I love TOMS shoes, so it was great that I could give another person a pair of TOMS,” she said.

Senior Brittany Kunkel also emphasized the importance of community service events such as the Barefoot Walk.

Whitney Cyr / Managing Executive editor Students walk barefoot for Circle K’s annual ‘Barefoot Walk’ Sunday, April 28, 2013.

“I heard about it last year, and my friends were doing it this year. I just recently bought a pair of TOMS, so I thought this was another great way to donate a pair,” Kunkel said. Some of the participants weren’t only Keene State College students, with members of Kiwanis in the Keene area also participating as well as students in the Circle K group at Westfield State University.

WSU freshman Amanda Masoero said she thought it would be good for some of the members of her college’s Circle K group to come up and support the event.

“It’s really a reality check to walk around without shoes on. We don’t realize how easy we have it with our shoes all the time,” she said. Masoero said the event put on KSC has inspired her to work on some ideas that she can implement in her own group.

“We’re getting some great ideas for events to do back home,” she said.

“We’re taking notes.” With TOMS shoes costing about $55 a pair, the Circle K group at KSC will be able to purchase more than twelve shoes for children in need in Keene, but it will also purchase twelve pairs of shoes for children in need abroad.

Whitney Cyr can be contated at


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