Published 12:00 am Friday, April 1, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Sarah Heffner wants you to spend Tuesday barefooted.
And why would you do something like that when your worn-in flip-flops are right beside your bed and your comfy running shoes are inside your closet?
The Carson High School senior says it’s simple, to experience what it’s like for people who don’t have shoes.
Heffner, 18, organized the second “One Day Without Shoes” in Salisbury this year, inviting people to shed their shoes and take a stroll downtown.
The walk was an eye-opening experience for Heffner last year. This year she hopes to spread that awareness to others.
“I used to love to go barefoot and I realized that it’s not easy to go barefoot all the time,” she said. “Just walking around that one day on the pavement and having to watch where I stepped was tough, I ended up stepping on rocks and sharp things that I didn’t know were there.
“When people do that every day takes a permanent toll on their feet.”
The national event, sponsored by TOMS Shoes, promotes awareness about people who live every day without shoes.
“In some underdeveloped countries kids can’t even go to school because they don’t have shoes and that leads to a more undereducated world,” Heffner said. “Plus, there are also a lot of health risks associated with not wearing shoes.
“One pair of shoes can change all of that.”
TOMS donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.
Hefner has partnered with Stitchin’ Post Gifts, 104 S. Main St. for the initiative.
The shop, which sells TOMS, provided her with 10 percent off coupons to pass out during the walk.
“I think it’s quite amazing that this young girl has the passion and drive to take the time to organize this event when she goes to school full time and has a job,” Pam Coffield, owner of Stitchin’ Post said.
Hefner works at the Farmhouse Restaurant after school and serves as the editor-in-chief of Carson’s newspaper. She’s also active in the school’s theater department.
Heffner said when she found out about “One Day Without Shoes” from a friend last year she scrambled for a week to plan an event in Salisbury. This year she’s been planning for more than a month and telling people about it since November.
“I think it’s a good cause to support,” she said. “This seemed like something I could do as a teenager.”
The initiative is something Heffner’s passionate about because she said it’s something she can actually relate to.
“This makes sense to me,” she said. “I support things like breast cancer awareness too, but I’ve never known anybody with breast cancer so this pertains more to people my age.”
Heffner said she would like to draw a larger crowd to Tuesday’s event and she’s already had 388 responses through the Facebook page set up for the event.
The event will begin with attendees making T-shirts and posters in the parking lot parallel to the Salisbury Post starting at 5 p.m.
Heffner said those who would like to make a T-shirt should bring a solid color shirt and a bottle of spray paint to share.
The walk downtown will begin about 6:45 p.m.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.