“These people share the same common goal’: Community groups celebrate unity in Winnipeg

Several community groups who work with the city’s vulnerable populations gathered downtown on Saturday for an event to celebrate the impact of their work on Winnipeg.

The Unity Walk was organized by Bear Clan Patrol, and featured a number of organizations, including Mama Bear Clan, Downtown Community Safety Partnership, SABE Peace Walkers, Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin, and Community Unity 204.

“It’s amazing that all these people share the same common goal, the same common vision to give back and help,” said Victor Mondaca, general manager of Sabe Peace Walkers, which primarily focuses on the Osborne Village and Point Douglas areas.

The Unity Walk started in 2022 and has become an annual event. According to Kevin Walker, Executive Director of Bear Clan Patrol, the event’s outreach has extended each year, with around 150 people attending on Saturday in a show of support.

“It’s growing each year with all the different organizations. We started out with maybe four or five, joining us, now we have probably 10 to 12,” Walker explained. “A lot of these groups are volunteer groups, (and are) probably the backbone of a lot of these organizations. If we can get them assembled, getting out what we do best getting out…spreading the hope, the joy, (and) the love throughout the community – that’s what’s important to us.”

According to participants, the gathering served as an opportunity to connect with other organizations doing similar types of work – like patrolling neighbourhoods, cleaning up communities, and distributing food to people who need it most.

“It’s all the grassroots organizations, all the hard workers coming together to represent the work that we do to prove that the city is investing in giving back, and that lateral empathy, and lateral love, is stronger than ever,” said Daniel Hidalgo, Founder of CommUNITY 204.

Many of the groups says addressing issues like poverty is integral to the success of the community.

“We see a need for this. Everyday when we are on patrol – we see more and more of a need,” said Mondaca.

The event also serves as a reminder to the public that anybody can make a difference.

“These people are the real heroes,” said CEO for Community Helpers United, Brandy Bobier. “Winnipeg is a city of giving and I’m a firm believer that the people on these walk are the grassroots movements that are going to change everything.”

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