Nathan, a Bannockburn elementary school student, is an excellent reminder of how one person can change many lives. The Grade 3 student’s winter boot drive collected eight garbage bags of children’s boots, seven bags of men’s boots, and three bags of women’s boots, all of which have been donated to the city homeless shelter on Roehampton Avenue near Eglinton and Mount Pleasant.
After he spoke with his parents about Toronto’s growing population, Nathan became concerned about how the homeless would survive the cold winter without proper boots, so he decided to do something about it. He set up 12 plastic bins at his school and asked people to donate. The drive ran from Nov. 17 to 26.
“I think that everyone can help donate to people in their community…we have to think of how we can help or why it is important to share so that everyone in our area feels comfortable and supported,” he said.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nathan and his family took the precaution of isolating all of the items in their garage first before sorting through the donations and handing everything off to the Roehampton shelter resident manager.
The demand for winter clothing for city residents experiencing homelessness has been an ongoing concern. There are more than 10,000 homeless people in Toronto and that number has climbed due to the pandemic. The Roehampton shelter can accommodate 174 people.
Local residents had expressed concern about the shelter when it first opened, but Nathan sees the problem as an opportunity to help those in need.
“I think the homeless population is in more trouble [now] because of COVID-19,” Nathan said. “They are still our neighbours, and it is important to be kind to those around you.”