By Ashley Banks
Toyota continued support for The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge, hosting its annual “Walk in my Boots” Giveaway on Sunday, February 9, 2020. The event, held at 800 West Lawrence Ave. in Chicago, began seven years ago and has become a community success.
As part of the giveaway families were given warm winter boots, socks, and children’s books, and enjoyed a hot “Thanksgiving style buffet” prepared by premier caterer, Fanfares Catering of Chicago. The children’s books were provided by Munson Steed, CEO of Steed Media in Atlanta, and autographed for the children compliments of Toyota.
During the giveaway Toyota donated $15,000 to the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge.
Leon Denton, Director of Children and Youth Services, The Salvation Army of Metropolitan Chicago, said The Salvation Army “greatly appreciates each individual and company for their contribution.”
Toyota partners with other philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment.
The giveaway came at an opportune time, one where the Chicago area has experienced inclement weather throughout the region. With the gift of warm clothing and footwear, families are now protected from harsh weather conditions while walking outside.
The program “Walk in My Boots” is a community outreach project at The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge that “Enriches Lives … One Step At A Time,” held in conjunction with the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.
Toyota made its donation to assist The Salvation Army in providing “support for families in time of crisis.”
The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge provides shelter for families and can shelter and support as many as 60 families every night. A primary goal for the shelter is to aid families in finding permanent living arrangements and resources. After the family finds permanent living conditions, the Salvation Army continues providing resource services to ensure a successful future.
Many families at the “Walk in My Boots” event expressed gratitude for the giveaway items. The Hale family from the Northside said this was their first time attending the event, and added, “This is an awesome event that helps struggling families. Having an outlet in a time of need is a blessing.”
The Walker-Williams family said the food and support is greatly appreciated. Twelve-year old Arianna, the oldest of four in the Walker-Williams family stated, “It’s great for people who don’t have money. This shows me that people care.”
Toyota representative John Romeo, Vehicle Marketing Manager, explained it was his “First time attending and it’s a privilege to be present and part of a company that gives back to communities.”
Dana Green, Manager of Regional Engagements noted the February 8 event was also “my first year in attendance and it’s an honor to be here.” She, like Romeo, expressed pride in being part of a company like Toyota “which provide services to deserving people.”
The Salvation Army provides a variety of services for residents on the Southside and in neighboring communities. Among its many programs is one that includes daycare services for teens with children.
The program gives teens hope for the future by providing daycare services, allowing them to attend school.
Salvation Army invites individuals to volunteer.