Winnipeg Resident Gives a Helping Hand to Neighbours in Need

Ann Stout and her masks

Supporting others during a pandemic can be a fulfilling way to give back when many of us are feeling anxious about our health and the future. We have seen various acts of kindness across Canada where selfless communities rally together to support frontline workers, truck drivers, food banks and their neighbours in need. In honouring those giving hope among us, we would like to introduce you to a Winnipeg resident inspired by the work of The Salvation Army, who wanted to lend us a helping hand.

Ann Stout is a full-time insurance broker and part-time sewing business owner in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ann wanted to keep people safe and healthy in her community and started making and giving away masks in her neighbourhood.

“I was donating to daycares and shops but wanted to make a significant donation somewhere that would make a big difference,” says Ann. That is when she reached out to The Salvation Army. “Ann provided 80 of her handmade masks to The Winnipeg Centre of Hope,” says Debbie Clarke, emergency disaster services director.

The Salvation Army Winnipeg Centre of Hope encompasses multiple programs in two buildings in downtown Winnipeg. Programs include emergency shelter, transitional housing, addictions treatment and a residential mental health program.

Living in a small, close-knit community, Ann truly wants to keep her neighbours safe and healthy, “I wanted these masks to just be available for people,” Ann says. “I don’t want people to have to suffer unnecessarily. If you can give a mask and spread a little kindness, that is what I am going to do.”

Ann has made more than 800 masks to date.

It is the generosity of others during difficult times that reassure and inspire hope in the lives of vulnerable people and everyone looking forward to a brighter tomorrow.

By Sharifa Campbell-Hogg