Hundreds of people turned out to Heritage Park on Sunday for the fourth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in support of the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie.
While the event is a fundraiser for the shelter, it is also a community show of support for women trying to leave abusive relationships.
According to the shelter’s community development manager Heather Croft, this year’s turnout is the best yet.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” she said, of the number of people who took part.
“When some of our residents come to an event like this and see the level of support from the community, it gives them the strength to continue forward on their journey to get away from an abusive relationship,” she added.
Robert Braden has been supporting Walk a Mile in Her Shoes since 2010.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a great cause and a way for me to give back but I wish we didn’t need the shelter’s services.”
Shawn Forcier, who volunteers at the shelter, was also walking for the fourth year.
“I’ve been with them every step of the way,” he said, standing in his white knee-high ladies boots complete with bright red lettering saying ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’. “They can use a hand and I help out whenever I can.”
Greg McKinnon was also strutting his stuff in heels and said the shelter is an important part of the community.
“It’s near and dear to my heart. If something like it was around in the 60s and 70s, perhaps we wouldn’t have as big a problem (with abusive relationships) as we do today,” he said.
Before, during and after the walk, participants listened to The Argues, a family band — Lauren on bass, mom Chantale on drums, Sabrina on guitar and dad Michael on lead guitar — that rocked the crowd.
Since the inaugural event in 2010, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has raised about $45,000: $5,000 in 2010, $16,000 in 2011 and $25,000 last year. They hope to top that amount when the final total is tallied.
Team WYLDCHLD won the prize for raising the most money, about $10,000.