Families get leg up from boot program

The Boots for Kids program will outfit about 600 Chilliwack students with winter footwear this year.

The Boots for Kids program hopes to outfit about 600 students with winter footwear in Chilliwack this year.

Jessica Peters

The Progress

Having no winter boots can turn a delightful snowy day into a downright miserable one in the blink of an eye. Frozen toes, soggy socks, and drenched pant legs can put a damper on winter fun, make walking to school unbearable, and even keep a teen from earning a bit of cash shoveling snow.

These are very real problems that face at least 600 students in Chilliwack as winter sets in. For many families, putting out the money for new winter boots could mean not filling the cupboards, turning on the heat or putting gas in the car.

But that’s a choice many families won’t have to make this year. Murray Chilliwack has teamed up with a few key sponsors to spearhead a Boots for Kids program that will outfit about 600 students with winter footwear. The retail value of the boots totals about $30,000 — taking enormous pressure off local families when they need the help the most.

Murray Chilliwack partnered with Chances Casino Chilliwack and the Star FM Kindness Crew to purchase the boots through the Chilliwack Canadian Tire, at a generous discount. Other sponsors include CarStar Chilliwack, Gente Bella Salon, The Art of Driving School and Doug’s Locksmith, along with a handful of others.

It’s been a massive undertaking, with the bulk of the program managed by Murray Chilliwack’s Justin Mallard.

“We are trying to fill a need and help those who need it the most,” he said. Last winter they delivered 400 coats to local kids, and in the fall they outfitted 1,000 students with backpacks filled to the brim with school supplies.

When they asked the school district what was sorely needed this winter, boots were top of everyone’s mind. Each school identified students needing winter footwear, found out their sizes, and reported back to district staff. The list of those needing footwear included students in each of the district’s 30-plus schools, from kindergarten all the way to Grade 12.

While some schools requested more help, others only needed a little. But there is a need across the board, Mallard said. He was given a list from each school showing only shoe sizes and genders.

This week he will receive the shipment at Canadian Tire, sort through the sea of boxes, and work with a team of volunteers to deliver the boots to each school. The entire process should take about three days, Mellard said, and the race is on to get the job done before school lets out on Friday.

Both Mallard and Bosch are fathers, and neither one is comfortable knowing there are children in this city without proper boots and shoes.

“We’re just trying to help,” Bosch said. “We’ve got the vehicles to move (donation) around, delivering the boots to the schools. The best part of the program is when you get to deliver these to the schools.”

In the last 12 months, the dealership’s efforts and help from their sponsors has put almost $100,000 worth of clothing and supplies into the hands of Chilliwack’s parents. They never hear the kids’ names. They don’t get to see them try on their new boots, or pull on a brand new backpack. But they have heard the stories, through school administrators and teachers.

“We’ve heard of kids breaking down in tears,” Mallard said. “Some of these kids have never had a new coat or pair of boots. We all go through life’s ups and downs and to be able to help a family that is experiencing one of life’s downs is such a special gift to us.”

To ensure the kids enjoy and use their new clothing, Bosch notes that nothing is marked with business logos. Most of the kids will never know where their new clothing came from.

And that’s exactly how Murray Chilliwack wants the program to work.

“We don’t do this for recognition from the parents and student, it is truly done because it is what’s needed locally here in our community,” Mallard said.

jpeters@theprogress.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

Jennifer Greggain has accepted a new role with Golf Canada, coaching the country’s top junior athletes. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack’s Jennifer Greggain gets new role with Golf Canada

Greggain is now one of two people guiding the country’s top junior golfers

Chilliwack mayor Ken Popove set up shop in the Lil’ Joes food truck Thursday afternoon, handing out hotdogs to Chilliwack Central elementary school students. (Eric J. Welsh/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack Community Services kicks off ‘I Care’ campaign with hotdog handout

The fifth annual year-end fundraiser hopes to raise $110,000 to fund CCS programs

Beau Pelletier, Ashlyn Durie, Catherine Patterson and Olivia McLatchy are all Grade 6 students at CMS who decided to vote Green for Student Vote, Oct. 22, 2020, and who want to see an end to the opioid crisis. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
Opioid crisis top of mind for Chilliwack youth during Student Vote event

Chilliwack middle school students speak about concerns with mental health and drug abuse

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read