A donation drive to help seven families displaced by a North End Winnipeg apartment fire in November has prompted so much generosity, organizers are now turning their efforts to the wider community.
The donation drive was originally created in response to the Nov. 24 fire at a Dufferin Avenue apartment building that left seven families without clothes, household goods, toys and more.
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But those behind the drive say the response from the public was so great, they've been able to help all seven families and still have many piles of donations left over.
So organizers are inviting people to come to the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre at 45 Robinson St. and pick up anything they need, free of charge.
"Neighbours helping neighbours. I think it's good," said George Martin, who picked up clothing for his grandson. "I've lived in a lot of cities ... it's good that Winnipeg does this."
More than 100 people benefited from the giveaway on Monday. People can check out the available items all day Tuesday at the friendship centre.
"It's pretty awesome, I think, because we just moved into a new place … we're just starting over," said Justina Campbell, who brought her three-year-old son Montez with her.
'It's a good feeling,' says organizer
James Favel of the Bear Clan Patrol, a group that promotes safety in the North End, is involved in this week's event and said it's "very heartwarming" to see so many donations available.
"We don't have a lot in this community but when you get things like this that happen it's reassuring, you know, that humanity is still there," he said.
Favel added that a refugee family from Syria picked up some donated furniture on Monday morning, making one of their first Canadian memories one of generosity.
"I get goose bumps when I think about it right now," he said.
"It's a good feeling. This is the way our community should be. It's the village taking care of the village ... and then the greater village."
Georgina Spence, a mother of four children under the age of 13, said she's happy her six-year-old son, Derek, can ride his skateboard safely thanks to a helmet they picked up on Monday.
"He does love it and he's like thankful when we're home and it's cute," she said. "I'm thankful that he's thankful."
Donated items that are not taken by the end of the day Tuesday will be passed on to other community agencies in the North End.