- Maj Rothwell-Hawes
17 Wing is Ready for the Challenge!
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Over 1,100 people are homeless in Winnipeg, which was revealed in the 2021 Interim Street Census Community Report that was conducted by End Homelessness Winnipeg in April 2021. The COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, causing a spike in unsheltered homelessness due to the unexpected closing of public spaces and the inability for people to couch-surf. Of the 1,100 homeless people identified in the census, 66% identified as indigenous. Bear Clan Patrol Inc. responded by developing a method to connect and provide support to indigenous populations that are experiencing hardship on the streets of Winnipeg.
Bear Clan Patrol Inc. was founded as a non-profit organization in 1992 in the North End of Winnipeg. It was developed to serve as a means to support Winnipeg’s aboriginal community that is concentrated in inner city neighborhoods. The mission is inspiring; to provide restoration and maintenance of harmony within the community by promoting safety, conflict resolution and a mobile presence. Volunteer foot patrollers set out daily, connecting and distributing care packages to those in need, properly disposing of needles, conducting searches for missing people – even administering first aid to those that require it.
The dedication of these volunteers is remarkable, which is why 402 Sqn decided to initiate a plan of action to assist with the provision of care packages. The Squadron set an ambitious goal of providing 200 care packages to the organization by the end of May. Due to the daunting size of the task at hand, 2CAD, CFSSAT and Barker College were also asked to participate. Immediately, donation bins were distributed and a means to facilitate monetary donations was initiated. The challenge met immediate success with 4 large bins of donations and just under $800 collected. Volunteers dedicated two days to assemble a total of 171 care packages. Packages contained some common items such as snacks, socks, lip chap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes/toothpaste, while specialty bags were made up with feminine hygiene products, bug spray, sunscreen and underwear.
Although the donation drive has ended, there are still opportunities to get involved with Bear Clan Patrol Inc. Private donations can be coordinated and dropped off during their yearly donation drive or you can volunteer to conduct weekly foot patrols.