Good Samaritans aid Sandy Bay in housing crisis

“You know what? Every family should have a warm Christmas.”

(A sample of the items donated to Sandy Bay residents, many of whom are in substandard homes without heat this winter.)

Melissa Ridgen
APTN National News
Truckloads of heaters and winter clothes are en route to the Sandy Bay First Nation as a result of a whirlwind of donations from Good Samaritans that began this past weekend.

Rocky Dhillon, vice-president of Dhillon Automotive Group, learned through media reports, that a number of Sandy Bay families have no heat.

His car dealerships were in the midst of a winter clothing drive and decided to give the goods direct to the First Nation, along with heaters.

“I have three kids myself and it was just heart-wrenching to see these other kids living in in those conditions,” said Dhillon.

He put out a call for donations on his Facebook page and Winnipeggers responded.

“My wife and I were chatting about it last night and said, ‘you know what? Every family should have a warm Christmas,’” said Shaun Goolcharan, who donated heaters.

In a separate random act of kindness, Green Acres Hutterite Colony has pledged materials needed to fix some of the dozens of dilapidated homes at Sandy Bay.

“We looked at some homes and we know what kind of materials you need and I think we can help,” said Aaron Hofer in a video posted on Sandy Bay member Clint McIvor’s Facebook page.

“I think if we step up and actually mobilize a group there it will put pressure on other people to step up and provide immediate help as that’s what’s needed. There’s been enough talk, some action is needed,” Marvin Waldner said in the same video.

The colony also pledged to send warm clothes and blankets to Sandy Bay, a community crippled by a housing crisis and the usual poverty.

Last month a Youtube video of a rat-ravaged, sewage-soaked property at Sandy Bay went viral and resulted in an Ontario businessman donating a home to the family of 10.

The home hasn’t yet been delivered as it first needs a concrete pad.

Dhillon said his auto dealership at 715 Pembina Hwy in Winnipeg, will continue to collect donations for Sandy Bay “until whenever. Whatever it takes.”

[email protected]

Host/Producer - Winnipeg

Melissa is a proud Red River Metis and award-winning journalist who has spent more 14 years covering crime, courts, politics, business and entertainment for newspapers in four provinces.
She then joined APTN Investigates in 2009 and APTN National News in 2018 and in that time has garnered numerous awards and nominations including from the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (2013), Canadian Association of Journalists (2016, 2019) and Canadian Screen Awards (2018, 2019).