‘Toyota Walk In My Boots’ Community Outreach Project
Enriching Lives…One Step At A Time at The Salvation Army Harbor Light/Booth Family Shelter
As temperatures fluctuate this winter in Michigan, one thing for sure is snowy, icy and even cold rainy days are here through March and warm winter boots and socks are a “must have” in Michigan. To protect families from the cold, on Saturday, Jan. 7, Toyota Motor North America through its “Toyota Walk In My Boots” community outreach project and the North American International Auto Show activities, for the sixth year, stepped in to help area homeless and low-income families by providing new insulated winter boots and socks to more than 150 participants of The Salvation Army Harbor Light and Booth Family Shelter of Detroit, a homeless shelter for primarily women and single mothers and their children.
Without adequate clothing, often low-income families and people experiencing homelessness have a much higher risk than the general population of developing exposure-related conditions such as hypothermia and frostbite. “With the need greater than ever because of the cold winter months, we are blessed to have support from good corporate citizens like Toyota, who are ‘Doing the Most Good’ by raising awareness of our mission to feed, shelter and clothe those who are less fortunate,” said Captain Jamie Winkler, director, The Salvation Army Eastern Harbor Light System.
The Salvation Army Detroit Harbor Light/Booth Family Shelter located in Detroit provides residents with emergency shelter for up to 90 days for single women and single mothers and their children who have become victims of unfortunate life circumstances such as house fire, job loss, foreclosure or domestic violence. Through the shelter they can receive emergency assistance, case management and pastoral care and worship and special services such as utility assistance, down payment assistance toward first month’s rent, food and clothing assistance.
“At Toyota, we want to build more than just great cars and trucks,” said Alva Mason, director, Multicultural Dealer Relations and Business Strategy, Toyota Motor North America. “We want to help build great communities; and in times like these, we must remember to help one another. We want the work that is being done at The Salvation Army Harbor Light/Booth Family Shelter 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.”
While many programs offer winter coat giveaways, a person’s feet are often left vulnerable to freezing temperatures and even frostbite. The timing of the winter boots and socks giveaway was a comfort to many as freezing temperatures hit Michigan this week.
Greg Jackson, owner, Prestige Warren Toyota encouraged the families to “[not] be discouraged by where you are right now.” While Ronnie McNeir of The Four Tops told them to “keep your eye on the prize” as he sung a rendition of “Family Reunion.” McNeir also donated Black Vinyl winter coats to some of the boys at the shelter. Munson Steed, publisher of Rolling Out, and author of his new children’s book, Little Professor Skye Favorite Things, personally signed his book for all the children at the event.
It was a joyous morning as Toyota brought a ray of sunshine and warmth to the families. Toyota also donated $15,000 to The Salvation Army Harbor Light/Booth Family Shelter enabling them to continue to provide refuge for children and families in times of crisis. They also treated the families to a “Thanksgiving-style” buffet luncheon by Unique Food Management. In its sixth year, through this program, Toyota has donated over 1,000 pairs of winter boots and contributed more than $80,000 in cash just in Detroit alone. The project has also been held in Chicago, Washington DC and, Baltimore, Maryland.
Toyota, the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mira fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, the auto manufacturer has built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where it operates 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employs more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.). Toyota’s 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.