Soles4Souls held its second annual Barefoot4Them event on Thursday to help raise awareness about global poverty.
This year, participants in nine countries pledged to go shoeless to support the charity organization, which donates footwear to the poor and helps needy communities through micro-credit lending programs that fund small businesses and create jobs.
“The more people go barefoot on behalf of those who are forced to because they have no footwear, the more momentum we create toward changing lives,” Soles4Souls CEO Buddy Teaster said in a statement.
This year’s event included musician Michael Franti, who is well known for his activism and dedication to social-justice issues. The singer stopped wearing shoes in 2000, but was specifically honoring the Soles4Souls mission Thursday.
“Growing up barefoot is a distinct part of the cycle of poverty,” Franti said in a statement.