Early start to Salvation Army’s Operation Warm Toes boot drive

Napanee and Area Community Health Centre community development director Victoria Cadue and Napanee Salvation Army's director of community ministries Abby Mills sort through winter boots of all sizes during last year's winter boots drive. They're currently accepting donations of new or gently used boots for kids in need this winter. File photo.

Adam Prudhomme

Napanee Salvation Army is preparing for the potential of an early winter by opening up early registration for their annual Operation Warm Toes program.

Supported by community donations, Operation Warm Toes strives to provide new winter boots for children in need across Lennox and Addington, ranging from children’s size 7-13, youth 1-6 and adult 7-13.

“They’re expecting that the weather’s going to flip sometime in November and that we’re going to get cold quickly and have precipitation earlier than usual,” said Abby Mills, director of community ministries with the Napanee Salvation Army. “We just want to be sure that the kids are prepared for that weather.”

Using the schools as the contact point, Mills is hoping to start distributing footwear by next Friday.

“(Parents of guardians) just need to speak with the adolescent care worker or the child and youth worker at their school or the child’s teacher if they’re not certain who to speak with,” said Mills. “The schools have the registration form.”

In order to guarantee delivery before Thanksgiving, kids will have to be registered by Oct. 1.

“We’re still in the pandemic, it is possible that schools could have to go to remote learning, although we really, really hope that’s not the case,” said Mills. “The best thing for us to do is to make sure the kids have their boots well in advance so we can be sure that kids have warm toes throughout the winter.”

Boots will still be available after tomorrow’s soft deadline, though they may not be ready to be distributed by Oct. 8. Those taking part in remote learning can contact the Salvation Army at 613-847-1635.

Anyone looking to support the program can drop off new winter boots to the Salvation Army office, located at 82 Richard Street in Napanee.

“There’s always a strong demand for this program,” said Mills. “Kids grow so fast and we want to make sure that we can outfit the kids that need boots.”

Operation Warm Toes is offered in partnership with the Napanee Area Community Health Centre.

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