Toyota’s 2020 Walk in My Boots Chicago provides for homeless families

Toyota Continues Its Commitment to Support the Chicago Community By Donating Winter Boots and Socks to Homeless Families In Need with “Walk In My Boots’ Community Outreach Project: Enriching Lives…One Step At A Time at The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge – held in conjunction with the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.

Toyota continued its commitment to support the local community for the seventh consecutive year through its “Walk In My Boots” community outreach project held during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show. On Saturday, February 8, 2020, while Toyota showcased its great cars and trucks at the opening day of the Chicago Auto Show, they first stepped in to protect Chicagoland homeless families from the cold by donating winter boots, guaranteed to weather harsh conditions, and Smartwool socks to more than 175 residents of The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge and The Salvation Army Shield of Hope, both homeless havens for families in Chicago. In addition, Toyota donated $15,000 to The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division enabling them to continue to provide support for families in times of crisis.

“At Toyota, we want to build more than just great cars and trucks,” said Alva Adams Mason, national director, Multicultural Business Alliance and Strategy; and Multicultural Dealer Relations, Toyota Motor North America. “We believe furthering the success of our communities is key to our success. We want the work that is being done through The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division to continue for years to come. And, we hope that our donation of winter boots and socks to the families will help to enrich their lives…one step at a time.”

The boots and socks came in handy for many homeless residents as cold and snowy weather fell upon the Midwest the same week. People experiencing homelessness have a much higher risk than the general population of developing winter exposure-related conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite. While many programs offer winter coat and hat giveaways, a person’s feet are often left exposed. Homeless and low-income families frequently use local modes of transportation like taking the bus or walking in harsh elements. With this donation, many families will be shielded from the cold.

Through this program, in Chicago alone, Toyota has donated more than 1,400 pairs of winter boots and socks to help families in need while contributing over $105,000 to The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “We are very grateful for our continued partnership with Toyota and the Walk in My Boots project,” said Major Kjell Steinsland, general secretary of The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “This generous donation of boots and socks – much needed, but often overlooked essentials – will make a difference in the lives of the families we serve, from children walking to the bus stop, to adults commuting to work or pounding the pavement to find their next job. This gift will help keep families safe and warm this winter, and for years to come.”

The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge is a shelter for women and men with children, along with married couples with children suddenly homeless because of eviction, disasters such as a fire or flood, loss of utilities, domestic violence, being stranded while traveling or other crises. The Booth Lodge can accommodate as many as 60 families each night. The average stay is 63 days, but some stay longer, depending on the time needed to locate permanent living arrangements. The Salvation Army Shield of Hope, the nation’s first Emergency Homeless Assessment and Response Center, can provide shelter for up to 75 people. Families receive help in identifying more stable living situations within 14 days. Upon their move, families are connected with community support services to better navigate their futures.

Not only did the families receive winter boots and socks, but they were also treated to a “Thanksgiving-style” buffet luncheon prepared by Fanfares Catering of Chicago. Meanwhile, Munson Steed, CEO of Steed Media; publisher of Rolling; and creator of his new children’s books and coloring book series centered around uplifting children of color, autographed his books for the children compliments of Toyota.

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