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The teen helping to give essential items to Winnipeg's homeless population


A Canadian teenager is back in his hometown of Winnipeg with the goal of providing essential items to the city’s homeless population.

The ZacPac project launched in Vancouver in 2020, when founder Zac Weinberg was just 11 years old. Through this initiative, he fills dry bags with essential items for people experiencing homelessness.

“Each ZacPac is a 30-litre dry bag. Each of them containing a bunch of items…so that looks like sleeping bags, granola bars, hygiene items, socks, water bottles, hats, emergency blankets, etc.,” Weinberg said in an interview on Tuesday.

Amid calls to expand the ZacPac Project to other cities, Weinberg has now brought the initiative to his family’s hometown of Winnipeg.

On Tuesday, student and adult volunteers from across the city came together to fill 1,200 dry bags. The bags will then be distributed by six partner organizations.

“We got lots of requests to expand to other Canadian cities and we just thought Winnipeg would be the easiest because it’s my hometown and we’d be more easily able to get volunteers and a space to pack them,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg explained he decided to start the project after he moved to Vancouver and was struck by the issue of homelessness in the city. He did some research and learned about the issues of mental health, substance abuse and untreated trauma that may cause people to experience homelessness.

At first he was going to do a sock and toothbrush drive, but realized he had the desire to expand beyond that.

“The more I learned about the issue, the more empathetic I became and the more I wanted to help,” Weinberg said.

He added he felt the need to contribute to help this group of people who are often overlooked and vulnerable.

“At the end of the day, this isn’t going to change any lives, it’s going to make a few daily challenges a bit easier,” he said.

“But the end goal of the project is to send a message that there are people who care about a group that is often stigmatized.”

Those who want to donate to the initiative can do so online.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace. Top Stories

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