It took the opening of a furniture store to give hundreds of people with residences a taste of what it's like to be homeless.
The night before IKEA opened its doors for business, people started driving there, planning to spend the night camped outside.
It was like the annual CEO Sleepout that sees chief executives and other key decision-makers in the city sleep outside at Portage and Main, but in this case, instead of a philanthropical cause, people were more concerned about being first in line to get a coffee table or nosh on Swedish meatballs.
These people only had to do this for one night. In fact, it was only part of the night, because IKEA took pity on them and let them in their giant lobby early so they wouldn't freeze the fingers they'd need to get their credit cards out of their wallets and purses.
But every night in our city, during every season of the year, instead of at IKEA, dozens of Winnipeggers line up to get into Siloam Mission and the Salvation Army.
They are looking for refuge, not furniture in a box and an Allen key.
And it is you, our readers and generous supporters of the Free Press's 18th annual Pennies from Heaven campaign, who can help.
You can help them through the donations we send to Winnipeg Harvest. Sadly, at the festive time of year, hunger does not take a vacation.
The second way you can help them is by helping us assist the Christmas Cheer Board with giving people a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. They get the turkey, the potatoes and the vegetables. They also get soups and other non-perishable food that can last after Christmas Day.
And both young and old get what may be their only present of the season.
It could be a woollen hat and gloves, it could be a toy, and it could be a piece of sports equipment.
Think of all that the next time you are in a lineup and when you get change from a purchase -- including pennies -- at a furniture store. Or at a Walmart, an RBC bank branch, a store at Portage Place or elsewhere. Before you slip those coins back in your pocket, think that there are people out there this holiday season who need a hand. We're hoping our campaign can help them with your assistance.
You don't need an Allen key to do that.
WHERE TO DONATE
THERE are collection bins inside Walmart stores. Look for the bin featuring a winged me with my two daughters. All RBC branches also have our collection bins. Cheques can be sent to Pennies from Heaven, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Tax receipts will be issued.