Thursday, March 25, 2010

Be A Number, and donate a t-shirt

We learned about a great new social business that is based upon the concept of TOMS Shoes. Every time you buy a t-shirt from Be A Number, they donate a shirt to a child in need.

21 year-old college student Kevin Hershock started Be A Number after deciding what he wanted to do with his life. Hershock decided we wanted to do more than just help himself. Be a Number is based right down the road from your humble blogger here in Michigan.

From the Battle Creek Enquirer, writer Sarah Lambert describes the business and tells us about their first mass t-shirt giving coming up this weekend.

That night, Hershock designed a T-shirt with a simple logo on the front and back. He decided that each shirt would have an order number on it, and that a second shirt with a corresponding number would go to an impoverished child somewhere in the world.

Hershock's company was inspired by TOMS Shoes, a company that pledges that for every pair of shoes a customer buys, a child in need gets a pair.

Be A Number's name comes from a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

People try to avoid being just a number, Hershock said. They try to stand out. But in this case, being a number is just enough to spark a change in the world.

In the six months since he scribbled down the logo designs, Hershock already has sold 500 shirts at $20 a piece, he said.

The first batch of matching shirts, with the order numbers one to 250, will go to needy children this weekend, Hershock said. Hershock's first drop-off will be Saturday. He and his friend Elizabeth Bonner are driving the shirts to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Forty-nine percent of people living in Pine Ridge were below the poverty level in 2000 and the median household income there in 1999 was $20,170, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The median household income in the United States in that period was $50,046.

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