Barefoot Challenge: One Step Away

On April 10, National Relief Charities participated in the Barefoot Challenge to help raise awareness for kids without shoes.  We wish to thank everyone who RSVP’d on our event page and who went One Day Without Shoes yesterday.

The day gave us a few insights.  For instance, it has been good to see that, while many of the Native American youth we serve struggle to have well fitting shoes or shoes for back to school, they also care about kids without shoes in other economically-challenged communities and Third World countries. To each other, they are not “students” but just people helping each other – a long held tradition in the Native American culture.

In addition, our staff had some insights about going without shoes that we wanted to share:

Going without shoes helped me see that my feet feel better when they are clean.

I can walk farther and faster in shoes than I can than without shoes. When I tried to hurry through my errands,  I stumped my toe on the way to the car and scratched my foot in the grocery store. Too many days without shoes and my feet would be one big sore. 

When I put on my shoes and leave the house, I never think twice about my feet.  Yesterday, I had to think about every step I took, especially outside. I didn’t want to step on a rock or get a cut on my feet and then have to live with it for another week. But this also made me think about what it would be like if I had a cut, and had no choice but to walk around on that cut barefoot. I remember thinking it would probably take longer to heal, it would get dirtier, and probably it would get infected. A simple cut could turn into a big ordeal that lasted a month or more!

I had a blister on my heel, so at first it felt good to go without shoes.  Then the day wore on, and the blister got raw, because I was walking on it without protection. My feel also swelled because of the heat, which added to my discomfort. It made me think about how it would be to have a foot injury, and not be able to stay off your feet because they are your only mode of transportation like in third world countries.  We take so much for granted. How many people on the earth today are just one step away from being barefoot all the time?

And my favorite:

I never realized the great Service my feet do for me on a daily basis.  It made me think about people without feet, people who are not ambulatory, and yes, people with injuries and people without shoes. Bless my feet for carrying me from one sidewalk and pebble to the next. Shoes give me safety and stability and comfort so that I can walk and work and focus on helping others rather than focusing on the ground.

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