The simple things in life are oftentimes taken for granted. To some people, tangible objects like clothes, bags, or shoes are normal commodities that they can easily buy and eventually dispose of at will. Meanwhile, millions of people around the world, specifically children, walk barefoot as they lack financial resources to avail themselves of decent footwear.

According to a 2017 article by William Blischke, an American Sociology professor at the California State University Dominguez Hills, 14% of the earth’s inhabitants lack shoes or have inadequate footwear. He adds that in some developing countries, shoeless children cannot attend school because they may communicate and contract diseases from their foot sores. This is why some international non-profit organizations claim that shoes, or the lack thereof, are one of the most visible signs of poverty.

In the Philippines, there is no available academic study that justifies Filipino children’s actual lack of shoes. However, this phenomenon can be substantiated by the 2023 report of the Department of Education, which states that one of the most pressing issues in the basic education system is the lack of access to resources. Since school shoes are an integral part of a student’s uniform even in public schools, it will be difficult for less-privileged families to purchase them. Thus, leaving children with no choice but to either use their old and ill-fitting shoes, or worse, walk barefoot – just to complete their education.

This is the challenge that the SM Store intends to address through the Share Shoes campaign – to provide school shoes to the poverty-stricken students of the Philippines. In line with the celebration of SM’s 65th founding anniversary and through the help of its dedicated customers and partner-organizations, SM Store aims to donate more than sixteen thousand (16,000+) pairs of shoes to the last-mile schools and communities in the country. With a minimum of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000) single-receipt-spend at any SM Store, a customer is entitled to donate a pair of shoes, which originally retails for P299, for only Sixty-Five Pesos (P65.00) and shall be considered as a Share Shoes Champion.

In a statement, Mr. Dhinno S Tiu, Executive Vice President of SM Store, exemplifies the value and symbolism of shoes for both SM and its advocacy to support the community:

“Shoes have been the core of our business for over 65 years. Thus, giving out thousands of shoes to the Filipino children who need them the most through the generosity of our customers, is a symbolic gesture of our commitment to continue to live the legacy of sharing and giving back to our partner communities.”

More than a material donation, SM Store hopes that these pairs of shoes would help the children’s journey towards a better life. Through a simple act of giving, these underprivileged children will be able to learn, play, and flourish in school. And by protecting their young feet, time will come when they can confidently step, walk, run, and even leap towards their individual goals and dreams.

Shop at your favorite SM Store at SM malls in Baliwag and Marilao until November 15, 2023 to support a child in need. For only P65, you can help transform a life by being a Share Shoes Champion! Help us put shoes on a child’s feet and together, let us witness how they walk through life with smiles on their faces. (Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-172377, Series of 2023)

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