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.

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

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read