Favourite local grassroots group

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

1. Bear Clan Patrol
2. Winnipeg Police Cause Harm
3. Mutual Aid Society Winnipeg

Born out of the desire to provide security for Win - nipeg’s Aboriginal community, Bear Clan Patrol works “to keep the peace and assist community members.” Kevin Walker, the group’s executive director, credits the first-place title to the patrol’s hands-on involvement in the community.

“(We’re) engaging with community members, meeting them where they are at (and doing) our best to be involved in the community as much as we can be,” he says.

At three locations in the city, over 1500 vol - unteers take to the streets. These daily patrols encourage safety, by resolving conflict, and pro - viding an early response to situations, all contrib - uting factors in reducing crime.

The patrol distributes food, water and other needed resources to inner-city community mem - bers. Walker mentions the organization’s “food den that distributes food to about 600 to 700 people in the community daily.”

He says inflation, addiction, mental-health issues and poverty all contribute to the city’s cur - rent crises. “With all those dynamics involved, I think being a constant presence and a constant resource for some of the city's most vulnerable is part of our mission to our community members.”

“The hardest part is not being able to help everybody. We help as many as we can. We get to engage with about 50 to a hundred people on a patrol, so it’s very tough when we can’t necessar - ily help them, but we try our best to give them resources that they can utilize and leave it up to them.”

Walker says interacting with youth is a high - light of his job. “It's engaging with community members, meeting them at their level and just watching people. Changing people’s days (some - times by doing) something as simple as giving them an apple.”

He attributes the success patrol’s to its volun - teers. “Without our volunteers, the Bear Clan Patrol wouldn't be where we are right now,” Walker says. “They are the backbone of our or - ganization.”

Published in Volume 77, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 1, 2022)

Related Reads