The Bear Clan’s donated 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup weaves its way between the North End and Sage Creek on the city’s southeast outskirts in 20 minutes flat.
As executive director of the volunteer street patrol, it’s James Favel’s choice to make these runs several times a week — to the Sage Creek Sobeys, to Crampton's Market at Waverley Street and Bishop Grandin Boulevard, to a cluster of Subways downtown.
Pick up. Drop off. Repeat. They're all on different schedules multiple times a week.
Favel gently squeezes a loaf of bread at the Sage Creek grocery store to prove the point. The bread feels fresh.
"It’s not expired. It’s day-old. They call it 'distressed pastries.' And there’s all manner of breads and baked goods," he says, telling the story about how Sobeys' donations started with Christmas candy canes.
The Bear Clan is well known for its foot patrols and searches for the missing and the murdered.
Less known are the personal links the organization has made and partnerships bridged between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Winnipeggers and the city's leaders. The Bear Clan's governing board includes former Winnipeg police chief Devon Clunis and Gaylene Nemeth, mother of Cooper, the slain River East teen whose disappearance triggered a massive search in February 2016.
The food donations go to Ndinawe youth centre, the assisted living Kekinan Centre, the Pritchard House addictions treatment centre, Native Clan organization and the Makoonsag Intergenerational Children's Centre, part of the Urban Circle Training Centre with the University of Winnipeg.
At Makoonsag (Ojibwa for many little bears) on Selkirk Avenue, Favel barely finishes parking before neighbourhood residents gather by the truck.
"See," says Loretta Stevenson, "as soon as they see him coming, they come out."
Stevenson is the cook at Makoonsag. Not counting the few loaves and pastries for the neighbours, the distressed baked goods go to good use at the daycare, with bags given out on delivery day to parents when they pick up their kids.
— Alexandra Paul
Photography by Lyle Stafford