One local Winnipegger is hoping his Facebook post inspires actions of love, to stand in solidarity with the Manitoba Indigenous community.
Greg Armstrong is a retired chaplain with ties to the Indigenous community. When he heard about the remains found in Kamloops, he wanted to do something to stand with his 'brothers and sisters.'
"My thought was, in my retirement, I still have connections and influence," says Armstrong.
Over his 18 years serving as a chaplain, he journeyed to the Shamattawa community in Northeast Manitoba and made many friends with people in the community.
"We talk, we have ideas, and we're sad. It breaks our heart and some people didn't know it was happening. But to act on it, further than something orange. I thought I could give an avenue to some real practical things to send to the first nations community in Manitoba that has its own struggles."
Shamattawa is approximately 735 km northeast of Winnipeg. They are putting up their own memorial for the 215 children as residential schools across Canada have affected almost every Indigenous person in some way.
"They see themselves as a Christian community. They have gospel services, they sing beautiful songs, they're good musicians. They're in a predicament though and it looks impossible," he says.
Armstrong made friends with many of the community members from taking trips back and forth. He came to see that nutrition is a huge issue, which includes a lack of access to healthy food and clean water.
"As opposed to saying 'You're a white guy, you don't understand and I'm mad at you,' they're saying how can we work together in solidarity. Do you know any people who can send us up some shoes?"
That is one of three items that Armstrong is asking people to send up to the community. Pairs of kids shoes to represent the 215 children that were found in the unmarked grave. Right now Shamattawa has 77 pairs.
"It's costly. First, you have to get the shoes, which are cheap. The problem is you have to go to Perimeter Airline and pay about $40 to get that one pair of shoes up there."
Armstrong is hoping people will act on this if they feel led to, and even write a note of encouragement in the shoebox. The community recently declared a state of emergency because of the number of suicides.
The two other items Armstrong is asking people to send are loaves of banana bread and baby clothes and items. The banana bread can be sent to the school as part of the Shamattawa School breakfast club.
"Another lady got ahold of me who works at the nursing station. She works with new moms and her budget is a little tight. She said she wanted to get together some infant clothing, newborn blankets, and a few things for baby and mom."
They will take new or gently used items for the new mothers in the community. People interested can send it to the Nursing Station in Shamattawa, attention Mikelynn Gandee.