Winter boot drive organizer hoping to help Winnipeggers in need for a 2nd year

By | October 24, 2020

After helping put 100 pairs of boots on the feet of people in need last year, Robyn Brown is at it again. 

Brown founded the Warm Boots Warm Hearts initiative in 2019 after noticing many families at Hastings School, where she works, were in need of winter boots. 

Every year, the school received dozens of coats through the Koats for Kids program, but not enough boots. 

“We noticed that even with Koats for Kids trying as hard as they could, we weren’t always being able to fulfil all the requests for boots that we had,” she said. 

So Brown decided to do something about it, creating a boot drive in her Riverview neighbourhood. 

She ended up collecting enough boots to donate to several schools, and even had some donations left over that were given to the Bear Clan and Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. 

Brown said she’s seen a lot of families at her school who don’t have a vehicle and rely so much on their feet to get around. Without a good pair of winter boots, it can be challenging to even get to school or work, she said. 

“So we figured that by connecting them with a good pair of warm, sturdy footwear, that can maybe make or break the day between getting to school and work, getting that attendance where it needs to be, and just really helping people get out of the house …and go where they need to go,” she said. 

This year, Brown anticipates the drive will be smaller due to COVID-19, but is still hoping to collect at least 50 pairs. 

“But if we could get even 50 pairs of shoes, to us, that’s 50 people that are taken care of. Every little bit counts,” she said. 

The drive will accept new and gently used boots. They’re looking for both kids and adult sizes, Brown said. 

There is a bin for drop-offs, located in South Osborne, at Park Line Coffee across from the Park Theatre. Brown said they are working on setting up other donation bins through the city, but for now, those interested in donating can email warmbootswarmhearts@gmail.com to arrange a pickup.

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