Fashion is certainly in the eye of the beholder and while one person might feel something is fab, another may say drab. And then there lies the line determining what is fashion and what is function.
Take something as simple as flip flops. Who knew that a simple pair of rubber sandals, yeah the kind you see at the discount stores, could make such a functional and fashion statement across the world. Just goes to show you that when you find an Austin woman on a mission, one person can make a difference in a big way to help those in need.
Flip Flop To The World (formerly Flip Flop to Nigeria) founder Spruce Dickerson was shopping at a Dollar Store back in 2011 and she had a light bulb moment. “I was overwhelmed, for one dollar we can buy shoes, and that thought just went all over me”, added Dickerson. Since there are so many people in third-world countries who can’t afford anything, the shoes are a big help to protect the feet of many and that is how the mission was started.
For many years, Spruce has been involved with pageants as a participant, title winner and as a coach. With her pageant contacts, she networked with Christable, a fellow pageant colleague who represented Nigeria. Spruce and Christabel struck up a conversation on Facebook and Spruce learned her social platform was helping children in orphanages. “She was my connection and I shipped the shoes to her and she would distribute the flip flops to the areas in need,” said Dickerson.
In 2017 Spruce changed up a few things and decided she would change which country would receive her generosity. She has now given flip flops to Mexico, Puerto Rico and this year she has chosen nine of the poorest US states and Texas.
The campaign is in full swing and you can donate shoes through August 31. There are collection barrels distributed across Austin for you to make a donation at these locations. All shoes must be new, no used or you can donate sandals. Participating helpers include the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, schools, churches and pageants help to make the campaign successful and people like you!!
Every year since Spruce started her flip flop campaign, donations have increased.
This is the exciting part. “Every year we have increased our donations and to date, 14,000 pairs of new flip flops have been distributed”, said Dickerson.
Thank you Spruce for taking a simple flip flop to make such a difference to those in need. A fashion win-win.
Photos: Provided by Spruce Dickerson