Winnipeg police deliver Christmas hamper to Ukrainian family in need

A Ukrainian family who fled their war-torn country to start a new life in Winnipeg will be having a much merrier Christmas thanks to a generous hamper donation from the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).

Three police cruisers full of food, clothing, gifts – and even a Christmas tree – were delivered to a family in Winnipeg’s West End Friday. Insp. Max Waddell with the WPS West District said it took a while to unload everything, but the family was thrilled.

“It was box after box after box going into their house,” said Waddell. “It was a big haul at a time in need.”

Waddell organized the hamper donation with the help of other police officers, community members, and local businesses. He said every year they work to find a family that needs help at Christmas time.

“I just really wanted to make sure the family we’re giving to was really one that truly needed assistance,” Waddell said. “Just being very much aware of the war in Ukraine, and the large amount of new immigrants that have come to Canada and specifically Winnipeg, we reached out.”

Waddell spoke with the president of Oseredok, Winnipeg’s Ukrainian Centre, to find a newcomer family who could use a hamper. He was immediately referred to a family of seven with four children who recently arrived in Canada, fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The family doesn’t speak English, but Waddell said Ukrainian-speaking police officers reached out to make sure they were comfortable with the assistance. The officers also inquired about clothing sizes and asked what the children wanted for Christmas.

Waddell said the WPS couldn’t have done it without help from their sponsors.

“The Real Canadian Superstore was fantastic, they provided a very large quantity of food and even gave a Christmas tree,” he said. “These people did not have a Christmas tree when they went into the residence. So I think that was a very nice touch.”

The hamper also included new clothing for the whole family from Urban Tactical as well as gloves from Raber Gloves, electronics for the kids from CF Polo Park, and a free meal for ten at Boston Pizza.

Waddell is grateful for the support. “We really didn’t have a problem reaching out to them to ask for some assistance, and they were more than pleased to offer as much support as they could,” he said.

The community response was overwhelming, with financial and food donations coming in from more than 160 West District police officers. Waddell said it was a very rewarding experience.

“We were kind of joking as officers (were) standing out there that this feels like we were doing a search warrant on a house, but that was not the case,” said Waddell. “We were delivering Christmas gifts and food to a family in need.”

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