-"Got this email from my brother (Dick) sharing an experience he had the other day, with the temperature hovering around 32+oC. He and his wife live in their country home, just northeast of Pinawa, Manitoba and continues even today, to heat his home with a fireplace:
Not much exciting going on here... We are following Public Health orders and chatting with our neighbours, each from our sides of our property line. Most exciting event to report is my annual firewood delivery of two cords of Oak. Was stacking them in the woodshed an hour at a time. First time I’ve bought Oak. That wood is VERY Heavy. Was resting from 20 wheelbarrows of firewood, when suddenly I see my neighbours Greg and Tracey coming to join me in the project! In less than an hour, it was completed!
Now that’s what I call “Manitoba Friendly”!"
Manitoba Friendly Story
“So basically the story is there is this young lady, she's maybe 26 or 27. She’s a student at the University of Manitoba, and she is from Vietnam. She has been in Manitoba for the last 3 or 4 years. She is married and her husband is back home in Vietnam. While she was studying here they had a baby, and long story short my wife basically became her nanny. Her husband has a textile factory back home, he employs 100 or 200 people, they sell T-shirts and everything. So she thought while she was in school to make some money she decided she would start to sell masks - it was blowing up here when [masks] went mandatory in about October or November. So at his factory he made up about 1000 masks and sent them over.
She heard on the news that there was a big need in the inner city, and that some of the organizations like Main Street Project and the Union Gospel Mission and some of those charities and shelters that deal with a lot of people, and with families, women's shelters needed masks.
So she reached out to my wife and said “Winnipeg has been good to me, I’ve loved being here, I would love to donate these masks - but I’m not from here, I don’t know all of the connections.” She knew that we had some through our church, so she said “Can you find a place to give away 1000 masks to?” My wife said “Yeah, sure!” so we gave some to our church, we made arrangements to give them to Main Street Project, Living Bible Explorers, Inner City Youth Alive, Union Gospel Mission, Youth for Christ - those are the ones that I remember off the top of my head. So basically she had them sent to her place, and just asked us to drop them off. So we had 10-15 drop offs of these masks just for these inner city organizations. So the first round was 1000 and we were like “This is great” so she was like “Lets get some more.” She told her husband to send some more, and he sent over another 4000 masks to give out.
When we were doing our first drop off at our church, they were giving out a lot of masks. They do clothing and food giveaways a lot to help out the community. I hadn’t brought the masks in yet, but I was there helping. We were signing people in, making sure everyone was sanitized, if they didn’t have a mask we would give them one. So a gentleman came in off the street, and asked “Hey could I get a mask?” I said yes of course, and he said “I’m not going to sign in - I’m not planning on staying, I just needed a mask because I live at this Hotel, and they are charging us a dollar each time we need to get a disposable medical mask from them.” So here are these people with very little income or resources, being charged a dollar each time they need a typical blue mask. So I said “Wait a second, I have something even better for you!” I ran out to the big box of masks that I was dropping off that day, and I grabbed out a pile of these sturdy masks for him. He was thankful and went on his way, that was it.
...I drive downtown for work and I often see people wearing these masks in and out of places, I know that they have definitely gone to people who need them.”
-AJ, Manitoba Friendly Story
“So I work at a retirement residence, and Covid has been really tough on them you know? The changing restrictions, a lot of them have out of province family, they have kids that live far away, there is only one visitor allowed. For some of them the confusion of why I need to wear a mask or why they can’t see their kids or grandkids. I have a million and one stories about you know - “I had to drop halloween candy off my balcony to my grand kids” - all of these little things that just break my heart in a million pieces. We were super lucky, over summer  while cases were super low we were able to have tons of events and stuff outside, it was awesome. Then winter started coming and you couldn’t go outside as much, you couldn’t have outdoor family visits - and then we got a staff case [of Covid] in the residence.
So now the residents lost their activities with each other, they couldn’t go down to the dining room to eat together, they were just in their suites by themselves and that was it. It was what we had to do, and it was really, really difficult for everyone.By the time Christmas rolled around it had gotten a little bit better and they were able to eat together in the dining room and stuff.
So my best friend, her name is Eden, works at a daycare in North Kildonan. We were talking one day about how difficult it was to have our residents by themselves. Our health and wellness director said “I am going to put out a post on facebook that if people were interested in sending us a Christmas card, that we would appreciate it.” So I let my friend Eden know, and she had all of her daycare kids send us a ton of Christmas cards - every resident in our home got a Christmas card from the kids at Eden’s daycare. It was really sweet, and really cute, and it made the resident’s Christmas super awesome.
So Covid continues and still sucks in the winter, and come february restrictions are still tight. I thought it was really special - a couple days before valentines day Eden reached out to me and told me that the director of her daycare said “Hey, restrictions are still super tight, and I remember your best friend works at a retirement residence. Her residents are probably still struggling a little with this, we are going to spend all afternoon making valentines cards for them.”
This wasn’t something I reached out to Eden about, this wasn’t Eden's idea, this was someone else who doesn’t know me, doesn’t know our residents - who thought this would be a really great idea. So all of the kids put it together, some of the kids were like “I’m going to write a card in french! Can someone help me write a card in french?” We have french residents at the home, so we made sure they got cards in french - it was just all these little things.
The Christmas cards were a beautiful thing from Eden, but this was a person who has also been struggling with changing restrictions, having to deal with kids who also might not understand why the Covid measures are in place - and it was her idea to make my residents lives better, even though she doesn’t know any of them and she doesn’t know me.
I just thought that was super special because so many of us have struggled during this, but for some people their idea is to help others even when they or the people around them are struggling too - I just thought it was really special.”
Manitoba Friendly Story
We started this project with one goal in mind; to highlight and celebrate the people who give our prairie home its friendly reputation.
From yellow wheat fields flowing beneath blue prairie skies, to jack pines teetering over shimmering lakes, to guillemots traversing rocky shores on Hudson Bay; the natural beauty of our province has given us a lifetime of inspiration. It is these sights and sounds that informed the look of our flagship 'Classic' collection, but it is the people of this province who gave us our name.
We got started printing tee shirts with some old screen-printing screens our neighbour gave to us, an act of generosity which both allowed us to pursue our idea and affirmed to us that we were on to something. We shared our idea throughout our community, along the way hearing stories of the hope, integrity, and generosity of Manitobans all around us.
We documented these stories to share them with others, in the hopes that we can be a small part in celebrating the incredible character of Manitoba that makes us proud to call this province home.
It all comes back to that first idea we had; people here are more than just friendly, they're Manitoba Friendly.
-The Manitoba Friendly Team