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Toms: A model for giving (and traveling) that spans the globe

February 15, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie delivers new shoes to children in Argentina.
Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie delivers new shoes to children in Argentina. (Toms )

You like to give, you like to do good and you like to travel. Those are reasons enough to enter the Ticket to Give contest at Toms that offers a more profound travel experience. Winners aren't rewarded with lavish vacations but with "journeys into communities of incredible people and enormous need."

If all this sounds touching, it is — and growing. Since 2006, the for-profit Toms has sold about 2 million pairs of shoes based on a simple one-for-one ethos: Buy a pair of shoes and Toms gives a pair to a child in need somewhere in the world. The company has built on that model to include eyeglasses that in turn provides eye care for the needy.

Blake Mycoskie is the creator of Toms and author of the 2011 book "Start Something That Matters." He will be speaking Feb. 24, the second day of the Los Angeles Times Travel Show, at the L.A. Convention Center on style and about travel. His free shoes are distributed to children in more than 50 countries, from the U.S. to Iraq and Romania to Rwanda.

And about the name: There is no Tom, though folks always ask to meet him. The company might have been named "Tomorrow's Shoes" but only "Toms" fit on the label.

But back to Ticket to Give. For a photo and a thoughtful 100 words, you might be selected to see the Toms cycle firsthand by traveling to another country to give shoes to needy children in person. The contest is open to people 13 and older, and the deadline for submissions is March 4. Essays and photos are posted online, and the top 50 vote-getters win.
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