Boots For Kids warms children’s feet and hearts from Chilliwack to Boston Bar

Boots For Kids warms children’s feet and hearts from Chilliwack to Boston Bar

‘You hear these stories about little kids walking around with duct-taped shoes,’ says organizer

Thanks to a number of local businesses, 833 kids from Chilliwack to Boston Bar will have warm feet this winter.

The biannual Boots For Kids campaign, put on by Murray Honda and Canadian Tire, provides kids in need with winter boots and shoes. The initiative is one half of Project Warmth, an annual fundraiser that provides winter footwear to children one year, and coats the next year. Last year they handed out 700 winter coats as part of their Coats For Kids project.

“In the last seven years we’ve been able to contribute, as a team, over $600,000 worth of boots, coats and school supplies,” says organizer Justin Mallard of Murray Honda.

READ MORE: Winter coats delivered to kids across Chilliwack

They average about 500 kids each year, but last year that ballooned by about 50 per cent when they decided to add school district 78 (Cascade) which includes Agassiz, Harrison, Hope and Boston Bar.

Project Warmth began in 2012. Each year, the schools send in their requests for new footwear (or coats) in December. But Canadian Tire general manager, John Boris, and store manager, Karen Baumeister, are already ahead of the game by that point.

They shop early for the boots, starting around September to get the best deals. Canadian Tire buys about 85-90 per cent of the footwear while SportChek helps fill in the gap.

“We try to do a year-round, insulted, waterproof shoe/boot,” says Boris.

“John works really hard to get good quality stuff. We get a really good mix of different types — everything from running shoes to hikers to winter boots to rubber boots,” says Mallard.

Nike, Under Armour and New Balance are some of the brands they hand out. This year, there are even some boots that light up.

They like to pick a wide variety so the kids whose parents cannot afford new boots don’t get singled out. The organizers don’t want to make it obvious which children received new boots.

“You hear these stories about little kids walking around with duct-taped shoes. We hear that every single year,” says Mallard. “It’s just heartbreaking to think that these youngsters are having to deal with things out of their control, and also it puts an emotional burden on their parents.” 

Boris recalls what one principal told him last year when they were handing out coats: “He broke down crying. He said ‘you guys have no idea. You don’t see the kids every day that come into school that are cold and wet, and there’s nothing we can do about it.’”

But local businesses and individuals can do something.

Canadian Tire and Murray Honda rely on their sponsors and cash donations every year to make Project Warmth a success. This year, there are 31 business sponsors who’ve helped in purchasing the boots.

Though Canadian Tire does get a heavy discount when Boris and Baumeister purchase the footwear, each pair of boots costs an average of $35.

The boots and shoes were sorted into bins Monday and are being delivered this week to children from Chilliwack to Boston Bar.

Additionally, three local fibre artists helped as well. Gaye Bailey and Sherry Welch hand knit and crocheted 700 toques to Project Warmth, while another woman knit about 30 toques with matching scarves. They will be delivered to the schools along with the boots.

Those wanting to help contribute to Boots For Kids still can. Canadian Tire will continue to collect cash donations at its check-out tills up until Dec. 31.


 

@PhotoJennalism
jenna.hauck@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Bunnie Haigh (left) and John Boris, general manager at Canadian Tire, sort boots as part of the Boots For Kids campaign on Monday. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Bunnie Haigh (left) and John Boris, general manager at Canadian Tire, sort boots as part of the Boots For Kids campaign on Monday. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Boots For Kids warms children’s feet and hearts from Chilliwack to Boston Bar

John Boris, general manager at Canadian Tire, (left) and Justin Mallard of Murray Honda sort boots as part of the Boots For Kids campaign on Monday. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

John Boris, general manager at Canadian Tire, (left) and Justin Mallard of Murray Honda sort boots as part of the Boots For Kids campaign on Monday. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Just Posted

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Nominate your neighbors for a 2021 Communities in Bloom/Miracle-Gro Best Garden Selection Award. (Facebook photo)
Hope Communities in Bloom puts out call for nominations

Twelve gardens will win a 2021 Communities in Bloom/Miracle-Gro Best Garden Selection Award

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read