Responding to the tragedy in Kamloops this past week, one woman is starting a group called Grannies on a Mission, open to anyone who wants to help.
"I look at my little grandkids and I just can't imagine them being taken," says Klassen. "It's pretty dear to my heart. I think of my dad coming from a Metis background where he never even talked about it. It's had me in a big wet weeping mess this whole week," says Joy Klassen in response to the 215 children's remains found in an unmarked grave at a former residential school in B.C. on May 27.
Klassen runs a Christian women's ministry called Women Refreshed at the Well just outside of Winnipeg. This is also her home and it will be the hub for people interested in dropping off baby items for new moms in Shamattawa.
"It kind of numbs you but as the days go on, it just felt really deeply on my heart. What I realized the most is that we're quick to jump on the bandwagon and to wear an orange shirt. But the question is, what can I do?"
Klassen is friends with Greg Armstrong, the retired chaplain who has a personal connection to Shamattawa. He knew they are in need of a few things and was asking people who wanted to do more to give shoes, loaves of banana bread, and baby clothing and items.
This answered Klassen's question as to what people can do, more than just posting a filter on Facebook.
"He's looking for something for the nursing station, anything we can send up, including clothes for the newborns, articles for new moms and infants. For me, that's where it really resonated in my heart being a granny."
Anyone else interested in sending a care package of love to Shamattawa in the form of baby items can call Klassen for directions to her home, by calling 204-223-5467.
"From now until next Friday, June 11, we're collecting articles we can send up North for the nursing station. Any parent or grandparent knows what babies and new moms need. We're also looking, if people don't want to do that but want to help out with shipping costs, that would be great."
Shipping anything to the Indigenous community in northeastern Manitoba is $1.49/lb.
"It seems like such a small thing but we can do it with such great love, and that's the important thing. At least we can do something practical. No response is not a response," she says.