Each year, Bastrop-based Flip Flop to the World ships thousands of shoes to a selected country—and this year’s collection of shoes will be donated to rural villages in Kenya.

The backstory

Spruce Dickerson had the idea for the campaign in 2011 while standing in front of a rack of $1 shoes at a dollar store.

“There are so many people all over the world that can't even afford $1,” Dickerson said. “They don't even have $1. And so right then, something was birthed, and I knew I had to do something with it.”

Originally donating shoes to Nigeria, the campaign was rebranded to Flip Flop to the World in 2017. As of 2023, over 28,500 shoes have been donated to countries around the world, including Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti and India.

“I knew that it was going to be ... international, that I needed to get these shoes to people across the world,” Dickerson said.

Flip-flop donations help prevent podoconiosis, which is caused by exposure to irritant soils absorbed through the feet.

How to get involved

Shoes are collected from June 1-Aug. 31, then shipped to the selected country. A box of shoes can be sponsored for $100.

Each year, Dickerson posts collection barrels for new flip-flops at businesses around Central Texas, including The Hampton Inn, First National Bank and the Living Room Bookstore in Bastrop.

Cheryl Ann and Keri Byer have donated to Dickerson's cause since the campaign’s inception.

“In the beginning, you don't really have any idea of how far this is going to go and how many flip-flops are going to be collected,” Ann said. “It's amazing to me.”

According to Dickerson, shoes are donated from all over the United States. Various organizations also help collect shoes for donation.

“It makes you feel good that you can help someone that you've never even met across the planet,” Byer said. “You think about a pair of flip-flops, $1 could literally change and it has changed so many lives.”

Check out www.flipfloptotheworld.org for more donation locations, or mail new flip-flops to Spruce Dickerson Foundation, P.O. Box 1503, Bastrop.