It’s time to pay the piper. Me, of course, being that piper.
But I don’t want it for me. I want it for the Flip Flop campaign my wife and I have organized for the Children’s Village we support in Malawi.
Over the past several months, I have done dozens of blog tweaks, security updates, malware fixes, graphics, and more at no charge…with the understanding that they’ll come through for my Flip Flop campaign once it’s launched. Well, it’s launched, and I need everyone who pledged their support to do so!
Through this blog, I’ve been blessed to have readers who are both kind and generous. Together, we’ve raised several thousand dollars to support my Sweet Dreams Fund to combat the fears brought on by domestic violence. The joy you helped bring by way of coloring books, pillows, and teddy bears is immeasurable.
Today, we’re hoping to elicit your help either by way of contributions to the Flip Flop campaign and/or by your willingness to help spread the word and share this page with others.
Originally, I was going to create a kind of virtual fundraiser whereby I would ask parents and kids to secure donations from their families and friends to support them “walking a mile FOR their shoes.” Meaning, the kiddos would walk one mile while barefoot to raise money for the children within the village who have no footwear whatsoever.
But the more I shared this idea, the more I was told that it might be dangerous for kids to participate barefoot. They might step on sharp stones, step on glass, stub their toes, or get unnecessarily dirty and grimy by walking such a long distance without shoes.
That, in and of itself, is precisely the reason why Heather and I want to do this, and why we hope you’ll get involved as well.
Where people have said they don’t want their kids to walk a mile while barefoot, the children in the village we help support have to do this daily. They walk everywhere without protective footwear. And not on sidewalks or paved streets, but rather on hard, cracked ground, through brush, and among dangers such as insects, sharp objects, and even snakes.
They walk, run, jump, and play…barefoot. Everyday. And this leaves them vulnerable to germs, cuts, bruises, and even disease. If you’ve ever walked barefoot over stones, pebbles, or even the forest floor, you can more easily imagine what they go through in their harsh environment.
We aim to change that with your generosity. And for those who pony up the big bucks, we have a special reward for you.
What follows is the listing we posted on GoFundMe.com, which offers a way to facilitate fundraising for grassroots campaigns such as this. If you feel compelled to help, anything would be welcomed and so very appreciated.
While GoFundMe.com doesn’t accept PayPal, you can still contribute via PayPal by sending your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the Donate button below.
For years, my local Rotary chapter has supported an irrigation and education project in Malawi to help improve the lives of those who live there. We bring supplies for wells, education, clothing, and medical attention; we facilitate irrigation and teach proper land management; and we help establish better education opportunities for the children…many of whom were orphaned.
One of the things I noticed when viewing the slides from last year’s visit is that none of the children had footwear. Considering how far some of these children have to walk to draw water, get to school, and retrieve food or medical supplies, this leaves them highly vulnerable to disease, insects, sharp objects, and other hazards.
My wife and I decided to try and raise enough funds to purchase sturdy flip-flops for each of the kids in the Children’s Village that we support. Through our local chapter alone, we’ve erected classrooms and playgrounds, we’ve organized curriculum, we’ve arranged for teachers, and we’ve even stocked the classes with supplies, books, and utensils.
But still, these children have to walk, play, and run in bare feet.
We are seeking the generosity of strangers as we want to provide every single child in the Children’s Village with their own pair of sandals. This equates to 154 pairs of shoes ranging in size from toddler to teen. As well, there are several teachers and nurses who are in tattered footwear that we aim to replace.
We asked one of the instructors to measure the feet of each and every child, and we now have the full list needed to make sure no one goes without.
Because these flipflops will be their daily footwear, we realized that we needed something stronger than Dollar Store alternatives or temporary beach-quality foam sandals. Miles upon miles will be traveled in these sandals so we wanted to source flipflops that would last.
Fortunately, Crocs has agreed to help us by providing us with a generous bulk discount on the purchase of their footwear along with providing free shipping to our location here in the United States. The photo below is only one of the styles we’re purchasing because not every style is available in every size. Some are under $15 and some are over $20.
Once here, the Crocs will be jammed into luggage and we’ve already made arrangements with South African Airways to allow us to add these additional suitcases for a nominal charge.
We can acquire each pair of Crocs for an average price of $15.50 a pair, for a total of $2,387. Fortunately, we are able to use our Tax Exempt designation, thereby saving more than $200.
On top of this, we have administrative costs including GoFundMe and $200+ to cover the airline’s additional charge. My wife and I are covering any overage.
As such, we are putting out a plea in the hopes of raising $2,500 so that this year’s trip to Malawi can include the delivery of brand new footwear to every child in the village.
By contributing, every penny will go towards the smiles on these kids’ faces when they lace up and strap up. They’ll travel with better safety, they’ll be able to run and play with far less worry, and they’ll be able to take their daily walks in better comfort.
For anyone who donates $50 or more, my wife and I will be sending that person a FlipFlop Pendant Necklace as a sign of thanks (your choice of color).
We thank you for even considering this project and we’ll be posting updates and photos starting the very day the flipflops arrive…both here for preparation and once they arrive in Malawi in early August.
Anything raised beyond our expenses will be donated to their medical center due to a critically low inventory of supplies. Even simple sutures and bandages are nearly impossible to find without traveling several hours.
We thank you for helping us make this inspiration a reality, and I’m sure you’ll feel just as blessed when you see the resulting photos and smiles.
Thank you again and we can’t wait to make this happen with your help…and neither can they!