Winnipeg sisters give away more than 2,000 gifts to strangers

Two sisters hit the streets to hand out more than 2,000 gifts to unsuspecting strangers in Winnipeg Monday.

Gary Effect, gift-giveaway project in its 4th year, celebrates memory of sisters' father

Two sisters hit the streets to hand out more than 2,000 gifts to unsuspecting strangers in Winnipeg Monday. 2:00

Two sisters hit the streets to hand out more than 2,000 gifts to unsuspecting strangers in Winnipeg Monday.

The Gary Effect is a mass gift-giveaway project by sisters Kay Lizon and Jessica Boittiaux. In its fourth year, the project took place Monday in memory of the girls’ father, Gary Boittiaux.
Sisters Kay Lizon and Jessica Boittiaux (pictured) are honouring the memory of their father Gary Boittiaux by giving away more than 2,000 gifts and gift cards this Christmas. (CBC)

“He always went out of his way to do what he could for other people,” said Lizon. “That's what he taught us from a young age and that's what we're trying to carry on in his memory.”

Along with a group of volunteers, the sister’s pulled together 2,117 gifts and even more gift cards, all headed into the hands of complete strangers.

Strangers caught off guard by generosity

Lisa Mann and her kids were caught off-guard by the sisters' holiday generosity.

"When I [saw] all these people I was like, 'what's going on?' said Mann. "I've never seen anything like this in my life!"
Kay Lizon (pictured) said delivering free gifts to strangers makes her and her sister feel closer to their dad. (CBC)

The women said that at the end of the day, the act of giving makes them feel closer to their dad and closer to the community.

They hope the Gary Effect will spread and inspire others to do the same.

"Do anything that will pay it forward," said Jessica. "Hold the door open for someone, leave 50 cents at a payphone, do anything that will change someone's day for the better."

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