Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City mom springs into action

Heeds Harvest call for help by starting formula drive

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Mom Susan Krepart heard Winnipeg Harvest needed baby formula, so she went on Facebook and asked her friends to give donations.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Mom Susan Krepart heard Winnipeg Harvest needed baby formula, so she went on Facebook and asked her friends to give donations. Photo Store

No likes, just helps.

That's what Susan Krepart is after with her social-media campaign to stockpile baby formula at Winnipeg Harvest.

The stay-at-home mother was listening to the radio last week and when she heard a story that Harvest was down to 11 tins of formula, she burst into tears. Almost inexplicably, she opened up her Facebook account with a plea for donations.

"My kids are in and out of the kitchen, they're warm. Our Christmas decorations are up. I don't do anything about anything I feel is unjust. I have a social conscience but no social follow-through," she said. "I wrote, 'Don't share this post, don't like it, just give me $5 or a can of formula and I'll drive to your house and get it.' Babies going hungry in Winnipeg is important to me so I made the time."

Since then, Krepart has logged more klicks than a cabbie on New Year's Eve and "Google-mapped the hell" out of every conceivable -- and even inconceivable -- part of the city.

Her original goal of raising $200? Let's just say that's been left in the dust.

"After eight days, I'm up to $7,486.96 in cash and about $900 in formula. I'm just overwhelmed," she said.

Krepart was overwhelmed by one donation from a young mother who volunteered formula just days after her own baby died. With the mother's permission, Krepart christened her campaign in his honour -- the "Magnus Hay formula drive for Winnipeg Harvest."

Krepart hadn't called Harvest as of Friday to tell them about the pending windfall but she didn't have to. Chris Albi, its communications director, followed her efforts on Facebook all week.

"This is amazing from one person. She's not a business, she's one human being who got in her car with her kids in the back and drove around picking up donations. She started a movement. It's very cool," she said.

In less than two weeks, Harvest has received $88,000 in donations. It is hoping to raise more for its Hunger for Hope program at James Richardson International Airport next week when members of its team will be handing out pamphlets and stickers in the departure area.

"People can still donate before they depart. It's great that they can take a holiday but hunger doesn't get to take one. Hopefully, they'll donate their change, people are in a good mood when they're departing," Albi said.

Krepart is talking to a couple of people who might be able to convince their companies to match what she has raised and she's also hoping to get a corporate discount on formula.

"If you see a woman on the side of the road, crying into an envelope of money, it's me," she said.

She's going to keep collecting money and formula until Friday. The six Garriock Insurance locations have agreed to accept donations for her.

Krepart likens most do-good social media campaigns to what she calls "slacktivism."

"When somebody on Facebook says, 'like this post to help cure cancer' you're not doing anything but you think you are. People want to follow through but they just get busy and there's nothing wrong with that. (In this case), people decided they want to help and ding-dong, I'm at their door," she said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 B3

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