What is B.O.O.T.C.?
To truly understand and appreciate the scope and importance of this program, one must experience it from within. So I spent several nights Out Of The Cold as a guest, to see it in its full operation. This article is the result of my experience.
BOOTC, often affectionately pronounced as ‘Bootsie’, is the Barrie Out Of The Cold program. This program, simply described, provides warm overnight shelter for anyone that needs it during the winter season- from November through to April. But for the guests, volunteers, community partners, as well as the community itself, it is much more than just a warm place to stay.
This program, started in 1998 by Mandy Hillyard & Joan Jarvis, is modeled after the Toronto OOTC program. The $20-30,000 seasonal operating cost, which pays for food & beverages, laundry, taxis, and other associated expenses, is funded solely through private and corporate donations from within our community. And, through its partnership with The David Busby Street Centre and 6 local churches, the BOOTC program is able to provide a much needed, but often silent service, to several dozen individuals every night.