One mom’s Facebook campaign in support of Winnipeg Harvest’s call for baby formula is mobilizing Winnipeggers to give big – in just eight days she’s raised over $7,000 and collected a large cache of formula. And momentum is growing.
Susan Krepart kicked off the drive Dec. 4 after hearing the food bank’s urgent call for baby formula. She started by offering to drive to people’s homes to pick up donations of formula or cash – no amount was too small. As of Thursday night, she had raised $7031.96 plus approximately $900 or more worth of formula.
“I actually don’t know what made me do it. I’m not this kind of person,” Krepart says. “[I guess] years of me feeling bad about things and not doing something about it made me [start the drive]. I just felt compelled to do something… My babies are well fed. I can’t image what the moms and dads who can’t feed their babies must feel like.”
The drive started as a social experiment on Facebook. In fact, she initially called the drive Social Experiment: No Likes Just Helps.
“I went to Facebook because I didn’t know where else I could go. The deal was, don’t like this post, don’t share this post, don’t be a ‘slacktavist’, just give me your money. Just say that you want to help and ‘ding dong boom’ I’m at your door.”
Friends took her pleas to heart, and after donating to the cause, they shared the post.
“Now I’m doing pickups from people I don’t know. My friends just drop it off at my place. And businesses are getting involved – that’s the social thread.”
Then on Wednesday night she heard from a grieving mother who recently lost her baby and wanted to help.
“Her baby had passed away last Saturday and is not even buried yet and she’s giving formula. And so I once again burst into tears on my computer thinking of a woman who’s thinking of other babies during the unthinkable. That kind of generosity in the face of such insurmountable grief is inspiring to me and instead of calling this something quirky, I dedicated this [drive] in the baby’s honour and his memory.”
The drive’s official name is now the Magnus Hay Formula Drive for Winnipeg Harvest.
Krepart has also seen an outpouring of support from local businesses.
She woke up Wednesday morning to find her car had been hit during the night while parked on the street. As a result Krepart thought her mission might be forced to take a hiatus but the folks at Vickar Community Chevrolet came to the rescue with a free loaner van.
“When my car got hit, [thanks to] social media I put a picture up, my friend contacted [Vickar], and I’ve got a van to drive with free gas until I’m done.”
Garriock Insurance has also stepped forward and is now accepting donations at all six of its locations.
Other community businesses, including Rae & Jerry’s Steak House, The Pure Escape, Half Pints Brewing Company, Aberdeen Chiropractic, personal trainer Lindsay Hamel, and nutritionist Anna Lazowski have also made donations or offered incentives for those who donate.
Krepart says the drive’s success speaks highly of Winnipeggers.
“It says about Winnipeggers what I’ve always known – we are a very generous and giving community. I think sometimes we tend to be negative. I hope [we’re] not just raising money for babies in Winnipeg, I hope we’ve spread some good will and sense of community.”
Although some may be leery of social media, Krepart believes this baby formula drive is one example of its potential to do good.
“You can bellyache about Facebook all you like and you can be negative, but once again turn it into a positive. If you have connections in real life and you’re passionate and people know your heart is in the right place, it’s an amazingly powerful tool. This [drive] wouldn’t have been possible without [social media].”
The campaign may have kicked off via social media, but its power in bringing strangers together harkens to an earlier time.
“Most of these gifts of support are from strangers. They don’t know me. There’s a certain element of trust here that’s amazing and usually doesn’t happen in 2013.”
You can support the Magnus Hay Formula Drive for Winnipeg Harvest by dropping gifts of formula or cash at any of Garriock Insurance’s six locations: 390 York Ave., 4910 Roblin Blvd., 804 McPhillips St., 1766 Arlington St., 61A Center Street in Gimli or 54 Main Street in Winnipeg Beach.
Krepart is also accepting donations through etransfer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or PayPal (Susan Krepart). Or if you’re lucky enough to be connected to her on Facebook, send her a message and she’ll show up at your door.