A law student from Steinbach appreciates the opportunity to volunteer with the Bear Clan in Winnipeg. 

Tahnee Hoff joined a few other students from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba for an evening of walking the streets in Winnipeg, handing out food and hygiene items to homeless people. 

“I think a lot of the other people there, it was their first time too. So, I think there was definitely a lot of excitement, I think some anxiety just because of the population you're going to come across.” 

She walked with a group of volunteers from the West Broadway chapter, offering sandwiches, hot dogs, and granola bars as well as water. 

“I really enjoyed it. It was definitely still eye opening. I'm very familiar with homelessness and that population, but very eye opening still and something I would definitely do again.” 

Hoff says the community walk was well organized, set up with safety in mind. She notes there were experienced volunteers in the group, which helped put her at ease. It also made the group more approachable. 

“Some people would come up to us and ask for food or water.”

Around 15 volunteers wear high visibility vests in the dark.Tahnee Hoff (front row, second from the left) with a group of volunteers with West Broadway Bear Clan Patrol. (Photo Credit: West Broadway Bear Clan Patrol Facebook page)

From bearclanpatrol.org: The Bear Clan Patrol was first formed in Winnipeg's north end in 1992. After several years, the volunteer safety group went on hiatus. But in July 2015, they returned to patrol the streets again. 

It came about as a result of the ongoing need to assume our traditional responsibility to provide security to our aboriginal community. Given that the aboriginal population in Winnipeg is anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000, and is heavily concentrated in certain inner-city neighbourhoods, it was felt that the community must organize to keep the peace and to assist community members. The concept behind the patrol, then, is community people working with the community to provide personal security in the inner city in a non-threatening, non-violent and supportive way. The patrol operates out of the “Bear Clan Den” located at 584 Selkirk Ave. 


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