Manitoba

On World Kindness Day, local charities say they can count on kindness of Manitobans every day

Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day, first started in 1998 to encourage people to be kind to one another. Here in Winnipeg, people say they rely on acts of kindness every day, and that Manitobans can always be counted on to be generous.

'Do something small, but do something,' says Winnipegger working to collect sleeping bags for the homeless

Arthur Halle of City Alarm is collecting sleeping bags for the homeless. More than 100 have already been donated. 'Winnipeg, for its size, is one of the most generous, philanthropic cities I've ever been in,' he says. (Jeff Stapeleton/CBC)

Looking out his window one day earlier this fall, Arthur Halle saw a homeless camp going up on the other side of the Assiniboine River from his Winnipeg home.

His initial reaction was not that noble, he admits.

"I thought, 'what's going on there?' But then, next thought I had as I was standing there in my warm robe, on my computer, looking at people lying in the wet snow was, 'sleeping bags — that's the answer,'" said Halle.

He started collecting sleeping bags for Siloam Mission to hand out to the homeless. Since the collection began on Nov. 1 at the office of City Alarm, where he works, people have donated about 100 sleeping bags.

They were still coming in on Wednesday, which was World Kindness Day — a movement started by a group of non-profit organizations in 1997, and meant to inspire people to help one another through acts of kindness.

Halle, who is originally from British Columbia, says he's found Manitobans to be especially generous, no matter the day.

"Winnipeg, for its size, is one of the most generous, philanthropic cities I've ever been in. I'm really astounded."

Relying on acts of kindness every day

Jennifer Sault agrees.

She says the organization she works with, Big Brothers Big Sisters Winnipeg, helps hundreds of young people every year with programs and services that pair children aged eight to 18 with adult mentors. It relies every day on acts of kindness, and Manitobans don't disappoint, says Sault.

"We couldn't begin to do what we do, serving children in the community, without acts of kindness. We have 650 volunteer mentors who help us every day of the year, and we rely on it through our partners and sponsors," she said.

Jennifer Sault of Big Brothers Big Sisters Winnipeg says the organization is grateful for the acts of kindness it sees every day. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Among those partners are companies like Foresters Financial, which recently dropped off donations including games, fun socks, small toys and lip balm to make gift bags for the children. The kids will receive the gift bags at a Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party on Nov. 30.

The organization is still looking for gift donations for its Rudolph Red Tag Sale, which takes place on the same day, and gives kids who participate an opportunity to do something kind for someone else.

"We give them a handful of change, and they get to use that change to buy gifts for their friends and family and special people in their lives," said Sault.

Anyone who wants to help the organization can drop off new or gently used gift donations at the organization's office at 532 Ellice Ave. Sault said there's also a need for volunteers, with at least 100 children on a wait-list for a mentor.

City Alarm is also still accepting sleeping bag donations at its office, at 605 Notre Dame Ave., each day until Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Halle says he's noticed a common theme when people drop off their donations.

"The constant theme seemed to be people want to do something, but they feel the problem is so enormous they hardly know where to start."

His advice?

"Do something small, but do something."

On World Kindness Day, local charities say they can count on kindness of Manitobans every day. 2:27

About the Author

Eleanor has more than 15 years of experience in television news as a producer, reporter, anchor and host. She has covered everything from politics to consumer trends but is most driven to find local stories that resonate or have an impact on the community. You can reach her at Eleanor.Coopsammy@cbc.ca Twitter: @ECoopsammy

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