Winnipeg household offers away greater than 600 pairs of shoes

A Winnipeg family is celebrating a major milestone of their self-made charity – providing a pair of warm boots to anyone who needs them.

Robyn Brown started Warm Boots, Warm Hearts in 2019 after she noticed that winter boots were a much-needed item at the family resource centre where she worked.

“We just found that for whatever reason, winter footwear seemed to be one of the gaps that we could not fill, there was just such a need,” said Brown.

So, she took matters into her own hands. “I basically came home one day and put a little message out on my personal Facebook asking if any of my friends and family happened to have a pair of boots,” said Brown.

She received dozens of responses.

“My husband came home for work and I said ‘whoops, I think I accidentally started a charity!'”

Brown, her husband, and their son began collecting boot donations in their garage. She said they gave away more than 100 pairs of boots that first year.

“(We) started putting the word out to community organizations: ‘Hey, if you have anyone who’s needing any boots, let us know and we’ll try and fulfill that request,'” she said.

The charity also accepts requests through social media and accepts referrals from schools and daycares.

“If you need a pair of boots, were going to get them for you, no questions asked,” said Brown.

This past holiday season, the Brown family handed out its 600th pair of boots since the program’s inception.

“We like to go with the mantra that we believe that every pair of boots counts,” said Brown. “We’re just working out of our garage with our little family.”

Brown said the success of their charity is a testament to how the city of Winnipeg comes together. “So many strangers … have emailed us, or found us on social media, or just dropped off a pair of boots anonymously at one of our donation partners, without ever having met us, or meeting the people the boots are going to,” she said. “And it’s just really nice.”       

More information on Warm Boots, Warm Hearts can be found on social media.

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