Elsie Edwards, a Windsor Park resident in Winnipeg has been kept busy during her retirement by giving away necessities to the people who need them.
Edwards has a history of helping people during her years before retirement. She worked as a nurse, then in the Child and Family Services, and her latest job position was at Employment and Income Assistance (EIA).
"This whole thing is really not about me, it's about people that need help, that's what it's about. I've been helping, just one example, Lighthouse Mission. I bring clothing there for them and I can ask them if there's anything food-wise like they make food hampers for people that are down on their luck, or homeless, or needy," says Edwards. "So I just ask them what they need for that day or right then, what are you short of and they tell me and I go get it. I can't always get everything, but I try my best."
A lot of items that Edwards keeps are donated by other people. She says that some people simply drop items in front of her garage, and other people call and say that they have things that she can take and she goes to pick them up.
"People that know me already know that they can bring me things. I'm kind of like these people's Canadian Grandma."
With the limited supplies that she has, Edwards has people asking her for things and if she has it or something like it, she lets the people take it. No matter what their financial situation is.
"There are other agencies that are doing this and they're wonderful organizations, but what I'm finding is they always ask for a financial statement. People have to prove that they're needy. I find that people are embarrassed enough that they are in this situation, that they very often choose not to ask for help rather than give out more information. I don't ask any questions, if tell me they're needing it, they're needing it. If they're being untruthful that's on their conscious, not mine. I'm not there to judge them."
Edwards thinks back to her childhood and how she was raised to give to the needy and share their possessions with others. Her faith is one of the driving factors of why she gives to others.
"It's not something I tell them that they have to do. Do I have my own beliefs? Absolutely. I feel that the best way to show people what you believe is to show them. I live, I try, I live what I believe as best as possible."
The only regret Edwards has is that she is on a fixed income, she wishes she could go back to work to make more money to get more essential items for those who need them.
"I see the needs that people have and the different social workers, the social workers at some of the agencies and some of the hospitals know me, they know I do this. So, whenever they're discharging someone to a new place and they don't have anything, then I get a phone call 'please can you help these people' and I try to the best of my knowledge, to the best of my ability I try to help."
Edwards' future hope is that someone or some organization will hear her story, hear what she is doing to help the people in the community and offer her a larger space to store the items and put them on display better for people to see. She dreams of a warehouse being offered for free or at a reasonable price where she can make this a reality.