“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