2,200 Steps Forward: The Walk in My Boots Program Serves an Often-Overlooked Need During Winter Months

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Each year, winter clothing drives distribute coats, hats, scarves and gloves to families in need. But, two other necessary items are often overlooked: boots and socks.

In the colder months, a person’s feet are vulnerable to frostbite when exposed and prolonged exposure can lead to hypothermia. With snow and freezing rain, nothing gets cold faster than wet feet. For many low-income families, this is especially detrimental as many take the bus or walk.

Toyota has supported The Salvation Army since 2011 for the “Walk in My Boots” community outreach program, which has helped shield low-income families from harsh weather conditions in cities across the United States, including Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Harrisburg, Pa.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine going without – like not having a pair of quality boots on a cold day,” said Major Bob Mueller, Metro Detroit Area commander for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit. “I grew up in Detroit’s Grandale neighborhood and I know firsthand about the need in this community. Sturdy boots and warm socks are life-changing in frigid Michigan winters.”

Toyota also donates $15,000 every year to each city’s regional division of The Salvation Army. These funds help bolster Salvation Army programs and continue to support families in need of assistance. Since the program’s inception in 2011, recipients have included The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division (Detroit), The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division (Chicago), the Salvation Army of Central Maryland (Baltimore), and The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command (D.C.), and The Salvation Army of Harrisburg.

The campaign is part of Toyota’s dedication to improving communities by donating time, knowledge and resources to support local organizations and families.

“At Toyota, we want to build more than just great cars and trucks. We believe furthering the success of our communities is key to our success,” said Alva Adams Mason, Toyota’s senior director of Multicultural business alliance and strategy and multicultural dealer relations. “And we hope that our donation of all-weather boots and socks to the families will help to enrich their lives…one step at a time.”