Winnipeg Woman Feeds Homeless Despite Her Poverty

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A Native Winnipeg woman who prepares meals of bannock and soup and distributes clothes for the homeless needs a little help this holiday season.

According to a report from the Winnipeg Free Press, Althea Guiboche, a single mother who started “Got Bannock” in 2012, which is a grassroots mission to help feed the homeless, is in danger of losing her car, which she uses to transport meals, for failure to pay off speeding tickets.

She wrote this message on her Facebook page: “The got bannock mobile was seized and is up for auction due to tickets I didn’t even know about, [sic] my vehicle last year was taken many times without my knowledge or consent and now it’s gone [sic] I need to come up $3000 in one week or it’s getting sold!”

Many people on Facebook offered to help Guiboche pay the fine, but questioned how this could have happened.

“My students raised about 130 with their little fundraiser - they want to donate it to Got Bannock- I'll match their efforts,” said one supporter. And "Well, let's DO it! Is it best set up as a Indiegogo project? I'm in for $50. Arden Ogg can you help Althea Guiboche set up an Indiegogo for the van and for food donations? [sic]," another supported said.

On November 25, Guiboche posted this message: “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of support, i can't do this work without my vehicle, and to know that i have so many people backing me makes me happy and gives me the strength to keep going, in honour of the village we once had, miigwetch miigwetch miigwetch to the village! [sic]”

Guiboche has struggled to keep her grassroots mission afloat. Her car has been vandalized, she was almost shut down for serving soup and bannock without the required city permits, and she’s personally battled poverty and homelessness with her seven children. Somehow, however, she always seems to rally back, but this time, it’s different.

"Got bannock is hereby done in," Guiboche told the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday.

When she was featured on TEDxManitoba (an independently organized TED event), she talked about her motivation to help others, often times before helping herself. “The traditional village my people once had was based upon respect, honour and love. We were self-governed and every member of the tribe was a contributor towards the survival of the village. We each held roles and responsibilities towards each other and the village, and our wealth was measured less in what we had than in what we shared with one another. I want to re-introduce this lifestyle back in North America and the global village. We need to adopt a more selfless life that caters to Mother Earth and all her children.”

Guiboche has also been honored in her community for her work. In 2013, she was the Recipient of the 2013 Manitoba Heroes Award and this year, she is being honored with the Manitoba Human Rights Awards Human Rights Commitment Award of Manitoba.

But here’s a bit of good news, just minutes ago, on Twitter, Guiboche said, “my vehicle is now paid in full i borrowed some and the rest was an anonymous donation! [sic]”

Happy Thanksgiving indeed.