It’s auto show week in Detroit and the much anticipated, world-renowned North American International Auto Show always takes center stage. However, just prior to the kick off of the award shows, black-tie galas, press conferences and other posh events, Toyota Motor North America did something remarkable: they donated over 200 pairs of insulated winter boots and socks to metro Detroit families in need in partnership with the Salvation Army.
Toyota’s “Walk in My Boots” program is a community outreach project that is designed to help area low-income and homeless families by providing them with new winter boots and socks. Now in its fifth year, the program continues to flourish. To date, Toyota has donated over 1,000 pairs of winter boots and contributed more than $65,000 in cash just in Detroit. This year alone they donated $15,000.
The event was held at the Salvation Army Conner Creek Corps Community Center located on Detroit’s Eastside and benefited families from the Salvation Army Booth Services of Detroit, a homeless shelter primarily for women and single mothers and their children.
Alva Mason is Toyota’s director of African American business strategy and corporate communications. She’s also the founder of the program and gives credit to Crystal Williams, of Crystal Vision Communications, for her invaluable assistance with consulting and helping to make the program one of Toyota’s best community-based outreach programs.
“It’s so important to be able to give back. I am so happy to be a part of Toyota, and Toyota allows me to be able to create programs such as Walk in My Boots. This is one of the best days of the year for me because I’m always looking forward to doing this, and it means so much that we’ve expanded this program. This is the fifth year in Detroit, but it’ll be the third year in Chicago, and it’ll be our second year in the Washington, D.C., metro area. So, this is a great program, and it’s one of the best programs that I could’ve ever thought about starting,” explains Mason.
Mason and Michael Rouse, who is the vice president, diversity, philanthropy and community affairs at Toyota Motors North America, were both very active in lending a helping hand at the event. They assisted several families, and even babies, with trying on their new boots. “At Toyota, we want to build more than just great cars and trucks,” said Rouse. “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 of Metro Detroit to continue for years to come. And, we hope that our donation of winter boots and socks will help to enrich lives … one step at a time.”
Captain Kelsie Moreno of the Salvation Army was also instrumental in ensuring the program was a success. “This program is so incredibly important for our residents on the east-side of Detroit. Many of the children are walking to school, we have people walking to work, and as it gets colder these boots are going to help keep their feet warm, the socks too, as they came with brand new socks. So, it’s going to allow our families to do what they need to do and stay a little bit warmer while they do it.,” she said, while helping families try on boots.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Not only did women and children receive insulated winter boots, but there were also men present who received them as well. By the end of the event, every member of the family that received boots were all smiles thanks to Toyota and the Salvation Army.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the event below and tell us what you think in the comments section.