Kappa Delta and UPB walk barefoot for charity

Kappa+Delta+and+UPB+walk+barefoot+for+charity

Photo by: Megan DeWitt

Students walk barefoot down Alumni Drive April 5 to raise money for people living in Africa who cannot afford shoes. Kappa Delta sorority and the University Programming Board combined efforts to challenge those at FMU to “Take a Walk: One Day Without Shoes.” The event drew 88 participants and raised $88 to be donated.

Tiffany Roper, Staff Writer

As several students walked around campus without shoes on Tuesday, April 5, they took part in helping the Kappa Delta sorority and the University Programming Board (UPB) challenge others to “Take a Walk: One Day Without Shoes.”

Kappa Delta president, Lorin Hayes, a senior majoring in biology, inspired her sorority members, UPB, and several students on campus to become involved in the sorority’s first year participating in and hosting the walk.

“We decided to bring the walk to FMU because it is a small enough campus to gain lots of involvement, but a large enough campus to really take action,” Hayes said. “Our goal was basically to let the students and faculty of FMU know that there are kids in the world without shoes and they can contract diseases by not having shoes. That stuff can be stopped by simple hygiene and that comes from having a simple pair of shoes.”

Although the test was to walk the entire day without shoes, the key moment of the fundraiser was walking through what is known to some students as the “Patriot Mile” at 4 p.m., with or without shoes. For every person who registered to walk, a dollar was donated to provide access to healthcare for people living in Africa.

“I think the turnout was great,” Hayes said. “Eighty-eight people joined us on the walk, which means that $88 was donated. That means that approximately 14 mothers in Africa will have a 98 percent chance of not transmitting HIV to their unborn child.”

This is just one of thousands of walks that have occurred worldwide since the American pop band Hanson teamed up with the American shoe company, TOMS Shoes, founding their original “Take the Walk” tour in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 10, 2007. Prior to the “Take the Walk” campaign, TOMS Shoes was making a difference through their “Shoe Drop” operation. For each pair of shoes that a customer buys from TOMS, one pair is sent to Africa for free.

“I’m a really big supporter of TOMS shoes,” Morgan Rogers, a sophomore majoring in nursing, said. “At first I thought they were pretty, and then when I found out that they actually send an extra pair of shoes to Africa, it made me feel really good about it.”

Hanson brought awareness to their campaign to fight against poverty and AIDS in Africa by asking their fans to join them in a one mile walk before each of their concerts to represent what a typical African child must go through on a daily basis.

Hayes has walked a total of eight miles since she began walking in 2007, and she is compassionate about the efforts being made toward those in Africa. She feels that the poverty and AIDS pandemics can be resolved if everyone is willing to take that extra step.

“This generation has the means to change the world, one small step at a time, through technology and the means to communicate with each other,” Hayes said. “All we have to do is realize that there are others in the world with needs that can’t be met, and we have the power to change that.”

Proceeds from every walk that is taken go to several simple tangible ways to take action against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and poverty in Africa. People can choose to donate toward education, healthcare, drilling fresh water wells or providing new shoes.

“I chose healthcare for my walk because that’s something that people just don’t think about,” Hayes said. “People are already more willing to give people money for education, water and shoes and what not, but in order to be able to get that education or drink that water they have to be in good health.”

Some people opposed walking barefoot because of the early morning rain and other personal reasons, but the members of Kappa Delta and UPB were determined to walk, rain or shine.

“I know (people are) saying that it’s too much to not wear shoes, but those kids in Africa don’t have that choice, so I was happy to wake up this morning and go to class without shoes,” Rogers said.

Walking in the street barefoot put things in perspective for Rogers as she experienced what many children in Africa have to deal with every day.

“I think that we take things like shoes for granted every day, and we don’t really see how much they mean to us on a daily basis,” Rogers said. “The pain that I have endured while walking without shoes on this campus has been a lot, so I have a lot of support for the people in Africa that have to deal with this and, in the same sense, I have sympathy for them. It’s a hard situation.”

In hosting this event on campus, Kappa Delta hoped to let people know that by simply walking they can make a difference. Hayes proclaimed at the beginning of the event that it was not a walk of awareness but a walk of action.

Those who are interested in participating in a walk or hosting their own can go to www.takethewalk.net.