Among the $6.4 million that the federal government is issuing to 24 community-based agencies to deliver enhanced supports and services to victims of crime, the Portage Bear Clan is getting $99,000.
Bear Clan executive director Manon Timshel says it feels quite good to have been notified of their approval.
"It's darn good, especially since I accidentally deleted all the grant work on my first draft, then I had to redo it," says Timshel. "We really got down to the crunch-wire and we weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it, but our team pulled together and we got approved. So, we're really, really excited."
She explains the money will be going toward the development of a group to bring home missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
"So, this new program is called Noozhek," says Timshel.
"It's an Ojibway term for female bear, and it will be the other side of our patrols. So, Noozhek is going to meet Mondays and Thursdays and we are going to collaborate and distribute images of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls to our local allies like paramedics, fire department, ER, and to our regular patrols."
Timshel says they're reaching out to you to get involved if you can and help prevent crime in Portage.
"Bear Clan is here to bring home our stolen and sisters and let them know that we are going to be out looking for them in a real and meaningful way," says Timshel.
"We want to facilitate all kinds of women from all kinds of different backgrounds to be volunteering for this. So, part of that funding is transportation costs and supportive measures. We're going to be able to pay for cabs for people to come volunteer with us if they don't have their own transportation. We don't want any barriers against getting involved and being the change you want to see in your community, because that's what we're all about."
She adds they don't yet have a start date, seeing as the funds have not been received yet.
"Our proposed start date in the application was in April, so we are all ready to go," continues Timshel. "We're just waiting on the cheque to arrive in the mail. So we don't have a launch date as of yet, but it's going to be soon. You can contact Portage la Prairie Bear Clan on Facebook or our coordinator via the phone number on our page to get involved a little more."
Timshel notes their patrols are back on and open to their volunteers, and their needle team continues to function every day of the week, responding citywide. She says the Bear Clan is grateful for all of their community donors including Twisted Trailz Towing, Manitoba Harm Reduction Network, Simplot, and the Portage Regional Library and their great support.