Pairing with Community for Boot Drive

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:14 a.m. January 8, 2014
Updated: 11:25 a.m. January 8, 2014

While driving home during the holidays, Const. Patty Retsinas noticed a homeless man wearing only running shoes in the extremely cold weather.

One man and one woman in Toronto Police uniform stand with two other women in front of a large donation box in the boot aisle of a retail store
Const. Roger Mayers, Wendy Bhagoutie, Dolly Bhattacharijee and Const. Patty Retsinas

“I was cold in my car and I thought he didn’t have enough clothes on to keep him warm,” she recalled. “My heart went out to this man who was asking for money. I am sure he had no feeling in his feet.”

To help the homeless in the city stay warm during the winter, Retsinas started a boot drive running from Jan. 4 to 12.

Containers were placed in each of the Service’s  17 divisions  in addition to Headquarters (40 College St.) and Traffic Services (9 Hanna Ave.) where Service members and the public can drop off new or gently used winter boots.

I am so glad we can give back to the community

Wendy Bhagoutie, the Women in Retail Charity representative at Walmart located at 2245 Islington Ave. in Rexdale, arranged for the donation of a large quantity of boots and shoes with the help of Walmart Shoe Manager Dolly Bhattacharijee.

“I am so glad we can give back to the community,” said Bhagoutie. “I love to do these kinds of things and be able to help.”

McGregor Socks, the Great Canadian Sox Company and Heat Holders contributed over 400 pairs of socks.

“The outpouring of support from Service members and the community has been overwhelming,” said Retsinas who has been with the Service for the past 23 years.

Retsinas, along with Const. Roger Mayers and other Divisional Policing Support Unit members, will pick up the containers and – with assistance from the Bargains Group – distribute the winter footwear to shelters across the city.

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