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News Room – Inside the Winnipeg Police Service

Community Comes Together to Make Bottled Water Donation Possible for Shoal Lake #40

Community Comes Together to Make Bottled Water Donation POssible for Shoal Lake #40

When it comes to building stronger communities and closer connections with our neighbours, sometimes it’s the smallest efforts that can have the biggest impact.

Witness the March 8th generous water donation by Unique Foods Canada Inc., distributors of Activate Vitamin Drinks, among other unique beverages, in collaboration with Brands for Canada, a registered charitable organization.

These organizations came together to make available 60,000 bottles of 'Activate Vitamin Drinks' water to First Nations communities across Canada – specifically, Six Nations of the Grand River, the most populous First Nations community in Canada, and Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, located in the Eastman Region of Manitoba and the Kenora District of Ontario.

Where the story takes an interesting turn in our region is in the challenge of getting that water to Shoal Lake #40 First Nation, which has access limited to winter roads and ferry traffic during the summer months. The delivery of 30,000 bottles of the vitamin water, originating in Toronto and destined for Shoal Lake #40, would have to be delayed.

That’s when Winnipeg Police Sergeant Danny Boyko, who also serves as Manitoba’s Brands for Canada Coordinator, rallied the support of community members working in partnership with our Community Relations Division, the Bear Clan Patrol and community members working on behalf of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre to offload the massive shipment to be stored at “Ma Mawi” until such time as a safe delivery could be facilitated.

“We recognize the water issues at Shoal Lake #40, and wanted to ensure this generous donation could make its way to the community as soon as possible,” said Sgt. Boyko.

“It was amazing seeing the community come together to hand load 35,000 pounds of water off of a fully loaded semi. We had a human chain of police officers and community members passing cases of water, laughing and joking.

“We got that water unloaded, but it was also great to see new community connections develop throughout the day.”

This ?#‎ActivateCommunity initiative was created as part of Unique Foods Canada's corporate social responsibility program, and in tandem with the company's upcoming anniversary - celebrating 20 years of distributing unique beverages to Canadians across the country.

The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc. (Ma Mawi) was created in 1984 by committed community members who sought an Indigenous solution to supporting and rebuilding families. The name Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata translates from Ojibway into the phrase, “we all work together to help one another.” Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is a strength and value-based family resource centre delivering community-based programs and services.

Brands for Canada was established in 1992. Its aim is to ensure Canadians living below the poverty line have access to proper clothing and other basic essentials necessary for a dignified and prosperous life.

By 1996, the organization was receiving and distributing more than 9,000 pieces of clothing per month. Since 2011, Brands for Canada has received more than 900,000 pieces of clothing, personal care items and housewares. In 2015, approximately 1,000 pairs of running shoes made their way to Winnipeg for distribution to young people in need of footwear through the program.

“I truly believe that it is efforts like these that break down the barriers allowing us to continually move forward,” said Boyko. “Everyone put their heart and soul into the effort. It was an honour to be a part of this community effort!”