After a few caring individuals stepped up, hundreds of baby items are being shipped to help a community in Northern Manitoba.
After hearing about the 215 children's remains found at an old residential school in Kamloops, retired chaplain Greg Armstrong from Winnipeg wanted to do something tangible to help. Over the years he forged a relationship with the people living in Shamattawa, a fly-in community in Northern Manitoba.
Armstrong posted to Facebook a few days after hearing about the Indigenous children found, asking people to help in a tangible way by sending things up to the community. Shamattawa is facing a few issues right now, including recently when the chief declared a state of emergency from suicides. He knows they also were asking for baby items.
That's when ministry leader Joy Klassen stepped up. She said that her home could be the hub for people to drop off baby clothing and items to send up to Shamattawa. She calls it Grannies on a Mission.
"Let me just say that my house is full, and Kim Stoesz, her house is full of stuff too. We're blown away by the generosity of people. There's just such a beautiful outpouring that it's been overwhelming," says Klassen.
Friday, June 11, 2021, is the cut-off for receiving items. Klassen thinks it'll take the next few days to simply pack it properly before it ships out.
"We got so many blankets, homemade receiving blankets, some formula, diapers, soothers, and we've gotten a lot of newborn up to 18 months sleepers and onesies. You name it we almost have it."
Perimeter Aviation based out of Winnipeg flies items to Shamattawa often. The company has been generous with this initiative and they committed to shipping the first 200 lbs of baby items free of charge.
"We have probably about $500-700 towards shipping from donations. We're really trusting God on this and He has completely blown us out of the water."
Klassen isn't sure the costs for shipping will be fully covered yet, and people that want to donate towards it can text her first at 204-223-5467.
"It has been cool to see people we don't know. People emailing me asking 'How can I help?' So that's really neat," says Klassen.