Booksellers Go Barefoot for a Cause

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On April 5, Little Shop of Stories participated in One Day Without Shoes, sponsored by TOMS Shoes, to raise awareness about the millions of children forced to go barefoot. The Decatur, Georgia, bookstore held a storytime with the themes of helping others and contributing to the community. “We’re not raising money. Just awareness,” said store co-owner Dave Shallenberger.

“Since this is largely a children’s issue, a children’s bookstore seems as good of place as any to do this,” said Shallenberger, who once served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia.

For the day, Little Shop of Stories staff went barefoot and if a customer was barefoot inside the store at any time, they received a one percent discount per toe. “This inspired a number of people to take off shoes and socks at the counter,” said Shallenberger. The store also displayed a 12-foot stack of TOMS shoeboxes that were printed with information about One Day Without Shoes.

The One Day Without Shoes storytime drew 40 kids, about twice the usual turnout for Little Shop’s storyhour.

“Each took off their shoes and socks to listen to stories about giving, community, and feet,” Shallenberger said. Books read included Greg Mortenson’s Listen to the Wind, Dr. Seuss’ The Foot Book, and Eric Litwin and James Dean’s Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.

TOMS Shoes gives one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of TOMS shoes that are purchased. TOMS’ One Day Without Shoes asks people to pledge to go barefoot for one day to raise awareness for “those people who don’t have a choice.”

Little Shop employees Rob Herrema, Krista Gilliam (store manager), Diane Capriola (co-owner), Dave Shallenberger (co-owner), Kimberly Jones, and Marcy Cornell.
Photo credit: Amy Gibbons