On Saturday afternoon, Big Shoulders Fund partnered with the Gary SouthShore RailCats to host a winter boot giveaway event, distributing 500 pairs of Sorel Brand children’s snow boots to Region families.
Big Shoulders Fund, a nonprofit organization that promotes quality, values-based education for children received a donation of around 1,000 pairs of boots. First, they distributed roughly 500 through their partner schools in the Region. The rest they made available during Saturday’s drive-thru giveaway at the U.S. Steel Yard, where RailCats staff, Bishop Noll Institute students, and local firefighters volunteered to help distribute the boots.
“It’s our mission is to serve children,” said Dan Kozlowski, Regional Director of the Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana Initiative. “The sun is shining, the temperature could be a little warmer, but it’s a beautiful day and we’re here to serve.”
Much of Big Shoulders Fund’s work is working with Catholic schools to provide scholarships, enhance programming, and develop teachers. They also work with local partners to find other ways to serve children, such as meal distribution and Saturday’s boot giveaway.
“Big Shoulders Fund’s entire purpose is to provide children and communities with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Kozlowski. “Our main mechanism for doing that is through providing access to a quality education, but we see the work we do with our schools as community-based. This is another way to support that community, and provide an opportunity for them to get together and support each other – which is the most important thing we can do.”
The Sorel brand boots were all high-quality, and decorated with images of different Disney characters. Big Shoulders had them available for both boys and girls toddler and youth sizes, to make sure no kids were left out.
“Our goal is to support kids and the communities in which they live, that’s huge to us,” said Gisele Jones, Director of Community Partnerships & Engagement for the Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana Initiative. “If there’s a need, that’s what we’re there for. Big Shoulders carry a lot. We’re just really excited because we know a lot of kids in the community don’t necessarily own snow boots, and this being the Midwest, we all know it may snow in April.”
The giveaway was scheduled to start at noon, but when Big Shoulders started organizing at 11 a.m. there were already almost 20 families waiting for their boots.
“It’s absolutely wonderful to share this blessing with the community,” Jones said. “Hopefully this will be a benefit to the kids and their families.”
To learn more about Big Shoulders Fund, visit bigshouldersfund.org.