Manitoba

Calling all angels! New Facebook group promotes community service across Manitoba

Louise Rose, 79, realized early this month that she needed help to change some flickering light bulbs and wasn't sure where to turn. Then she asked some angels for help.

Social media group started to help seniors in Thompson, Man. but now has 'angels' from all over the province

The Manitoba Community Angel Program pairs angels, or people willing to do something helpful for someone else in their area, with a "mission." There are missions available in 23 different communities. (Submitted by Tiffany Price)

Louise Rose, 79, realized early this month that she needed help to change some flickering light bulbs and wasn't sure where to turn. Then she asked some angels for help.

Rose, who lives in an apartment by herself in Selkirk, Man., discovered the Manitoba Community Angel Program Facebook group and posted that she needed a hand.

"I'm getting on in years and I'm not to climb ladders ... to get anybody from the block [to help] is next to impossible, So I just called this number, and lo and behold, [a coordinator] says, 'I'm going to send down Ashley," Rose said.

Within a few days, a woman came by, wearing a mask and keeping her distance, to change Rose's light bulbs, and even dropped off some mail for her.

"I guess somebody was in the area and was an angel and popped in — flew in, I should say — flew in with her wings," Rose said.

"All these little things are helping us old folks, you know, just to make life a little easier."

Rose is one of dozens of people around the province who have received help from volunteers dispatched through the Facebook group.

Community helping community

It started this month as a way to support seniors in Thompson, Man., during the pandemic says Tiffany Price, the founder.

People in need of a helping hand to shovel snow, pick up groceries or even just a friendly phone call can join the group and seek out a willing angel, she explains.

Now, there are more than 750 members representing 23 different communities in the province.

"It's connecting the community when we can't be connected. Just the amount of angels that want to help and want to be a part of this is just astonishing," Price said.

Price says she chose the name to emphasize that the community work is done for free with no ulterior motives.

"You're just doing it kind of just out of the bottom of your heart to help somebody," she said.

Tiffany Price, the creator of the Manitoba Community Angels Program, dressed up as the Grinch for one of her missions to deliver gifts to a family in need of some cheer. (Submitted by Tiffany Price)

Price herself is an angel.

Two weeks ago, she and her husband put together some gifts to deliver to a household in Thompson that's separated because of a severe illness.

Giselle Pronteau's four-year-old daughter Hayven is very sick with sideroblastic anemia and is in hospital in Winnipeg waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Meanwhile, Pronteau's two other children have to stay in Thompson with their grandparents.

When Price heard of the struggles of the Pronteau family, and how much the children miss their mother, she and her husband decided to dress up as The Grinch and a snowman and deliver gifts to the children.

"My kids were so happy, like really happy," Pronteau said, adding that she hadn't even heard of the Manitoba Community Angels before that.

She had no idea Price was involved in the group, nor that members had been keeping her family in their thoughts and prayers.

"It makes me feel good," Pronteau said.

Price says there are many more missions available for willing angels, and hopes the community group will continue to grow.

"The biggest thing right now is getting the word out to the people that are in need and letting them know that there may be angels in their area that can help with things," she says.

"They don't have to go to Walmart if they're scared, or if they need help with the [snow] in the driveway and things like that. We do have people in place for that."
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Bergen is a journalist for CBC Manitoba and previously reported for CBC Saskatoon. Find her on Twitter at @r_bergen or email her at rachel.bergen@cbc.ca.

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