Will you donate Crocs to poor children in the Philippines?

I'm sure that most of you are aware of what Crocs is. But for the benefit of those who aren't, Crocs, is a famous brand of a rubber clog shoe that gives all day comfort and support, while providing long-lasting durability against daily activity wear and tear. The original classic pair ranges more or less P1,400 to P2,500 today.

photo by bulliver
Now, why am I asking that question? Because I was asking the same question myself one rainy sunday morning. I was on my way home after attending a mass and took the LRT1 northbound. I was standing, listening to my MP3 with a book in my hands, when a quick series of event distracted me from reading. A couple stood up and got off, and then a father and son took the emptied seats. 

The father, who looks like in his mid-40's, had his hair uncombed, and was wearing a crumpled polo shirt matched with faded jeans and an old pair of black leather shoes. His son, who is around 3 to 4 years old, knelt on his seat to look over the window and repeatedly said "wow, punta tayo diyan, papa" (wow, let's go there, papa). 

photo by DMahendra
photo courtesy of RizalPark.Org

That boy was pertaining to the colorful Philippines relief map located at Rizal Park, more popularly known as Luneta. One could see the intricate designs of the Philippine’s three main islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, when the train passes by from Central Terminal to United Nations LRT stations. Despite the child’s continuous plea, the father seemed uninterested at all. 

Aside from the father’s lack of enthusiasm, what really caught my attention was the fake pair of blue Crocs worn by the kid. It’s not that the shoes were an imitation but the mere fact that both of his Crocs’ soles had holes bigger than his biggest toe.  I initially blamed my poor eyesight for judging what I saw but looking at it a couple more times made it clear to me that I saw what I saw. Those were holes that are most likely caused by daily usage and not having an extra pair to substitute them with. Those worn out blue Crocs must have experienced a lot of joy playing in a mountain of sand from a neighbor’s house renovation, or a tour with her mother to the wet market, or a battle with the flood during the rainy days, or just a quick trip to the nearest sari-sari (local retail) store to buy noodles, candies, etc etc.

"sari-sari store" - photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

I was teary eyed and heartbroken with the idea that I could not do something for the kid right that very moment. I felt deeply sad that a child would go out of the house and travel with a pair of worn out shoes despite the rain. They could not only buy original Crocs, but they could not afford any comfortable footwear to protect those tiny feet. 

At that moment, I have nothing to do but look away. My eyes were fixed on the book but I could not continue reading. I hoped that nobody noticed that I am only staring at the book and not turning any page even if there were several train stations that already passed by. It saddened me that I do not have the liberty to offer some help. If I offered the father some money to buy decent footwear, I am not sure how he’ll react, because 1) it is none of my business and 2) they are neither begging nor asking me or anyone for money. 

I just told myself and hoped that wherever they‘re going, the father was planning to surprise his son by heading to the mall and buying him a new pair of shoes or slippers. I was thinking that, I may not be able to help the kid that one Sunday morning, but I’m sure that I will be able to help others with the same dilemma.

How I wish that I could bring you some good news, however, I don’t think Crocs in the Philippines offers what was once their project abroad wherein you can donate your old Crocs. Nevertheless, I'd like to share what Crocs had done abroad.

Around the year of 2008, the Soles United program has already given away more than a million shoes. It was publicly launched at the end of January 2008 when the Celebrity Apprentice teams got assigned to raise awareness on Soles United. 


photo by babbagecabbage
Enjoy your Crocs until you feel like the bottom starts to smooth out and that it is time for a new pair.

Instead of adding it to the millions of daily contribution to the landfill, drop them off at a Crocs retailer, donation center or ship them to Soles United. (advantage of Crocs’ light weight is that it won’t cost you much on the shipping). 


photo by ghinson

Once Soles United receive your Crocs, they will sort, clean, ground up and turn it into new Soles United footwear. These shoes are made out of 20% recycled proprietary Croslite material and have the Crocs recycle the logo imprinted on top. 


photo by wickenden

Once the Soles United shoes are made, they are boxed up and shipped out to organizations that in turn make these shoes reach to the needy, with the help of the Brother’s Brother Foundation and Feed the Children.

So, will you donate a Crocs to poor children in the Philippines?

Sweet Says... Yes, especially if Crocs Philippines promotes this recycle-your-old-crocs program.

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