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'Where there's a will': Peg City Kindness Crew strives to fulfill overwhelming hamper demand

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A newly-created non-profit group is attempting to give out three times more holiday hampers than last year, as the high cost of living leaves many Manitobans struggling this holiday season.

The Peg City Kindness Crew began in 2020 as a group of friends just looking to make a difference. "Very grassroots, just a couple of girls helping people out when we heard there was a need," said founder Deanna Stroud. "When we put out the call to the community to gather a few supplies, the help was just overwhelming, it was absolutely crazy."

That first Christmas, the group assembled and gave out 138 hampers filled with non-perishable food items and gifts for specific families in need. The Kindness Crew continued to grow, handing out 180 hampers in 2021, and 202 last year.

But this year, Stroud says they've experienced a huge, unexpected surge in demand.

"We opened our request line, and in just over 24 hours we had 650 applications for people needing hampers," said Stroud. "And within a few hours after that it was up to 700."

Stroud said in that moment the Kindness Crew had to make the very difficult decision to shut down their request line.

"We didn't want to put false hope out there. We're always committed to helping everyone, we've never said no to anybody," said Stroud. "The thought of having to do that was just too big, we couldn't do that. So we committed to the 700, and where there's a will there's a way. And we will figure it out."

The six core members of the Peg City Kindness Crew are now working with other volunteers to fulfill those 700 hamper orders. Stroud says only about 100 hampers have been covered so far.

"So right now we need either 600 people to sponsor families or multiple families, or we need just over $19,000 to buy the groceries to fill the hampers and distribute them on our own," said Stroud. "We will gladly take either."

The group has created a Facebook page and is accepting monetary donations via e-transfer to pegcitykindnesscrew@gmail.com. Stroud says a $40 donation is enough to sponsor a holiday hamper for a family of four.

"We have a lot of three to four, five to six, seven to nine families, but some of them are huge. The biggest one was 17," she said.

The Peg City Kindness Crew will also be gathering donations Sunday, Dec. 10, at Tom's No Frills, 6650 Roblin Blvd, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Donations are being accepted throughout the holiday season. More information can be found online.

  

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