Connie Bazin didn’t know what to expect when she launched a gift-giving project that allows Winnipeg school kids in need to choose what present they would like.
The responses brought tears to her eyes.
One child asked for his own pair of ski pants because he had to share with his siblings. Another asked for a backpack because their old one was lost in a fire.
Other kids asked for cold weather gear like coats, mitts and tuques. One asked for a bag of fruit – apples, oranges and bananas.
“I was very proud of them for not asking for an XBox. They [were] asking for things that they truly needed,” Bazin said.
The Winnipeg paramedic sees the hardships people in the city deal with on a daily basis through her job, and was inspired to start Tags for Tots after hearing about a similar project in New York City.
This year, the project is working with two Winnipeg schools. Bazin and her husband made tags which were dropped of at the schools, and teachers helped students write their wishes on the tags.
The tags are then hung on a tree at Winnipeg Fire Station 11, where people can go, pick a tag, and then drop off the gift once it’s been purchased.
Bazin and her colleagues will then personally deliver them to the kids at each of the schools on Dec. 15 and 18.
Bazin started by posting a message on Facebook about the program on Nov. 17, with a deadline of having the gifts bought and returned to the station by Dec. 9.
The response from the public has been “overwhelming” and all tags have been picked, she said.
“I was a little worried that I would end up with a lot of disappointed kids on my hands, or that my husband and I would end up buying all the gifts. But people have been messaging me non-stop asking for more tags,” she said.
“It’s amazing how generous Winnipeg has been…