Better Winnipeg is a weekly feature that focuses on people, places and events that make Winnipeg better.
WINNIPEG — The section reserved for baby formula at Winnipeg Harvest is difficult to keep stocked. But every December for the past four years, there’s a sudden surge in supplies, thanks to Susan Krepart.
“I don’t know what took over me. I’m not a pious patty, I’m not someone that does stuff like this all the time,” Krepart said.
In December 2013, Krepar heard that Winnipeg Harvest was down to 11 tins of baby formula.
“I was making dinner for my kids and where my kitchen was, I could see them off playing and it was Christmas time,” Krepart said.
“We had never been in want that way. And I couldn’t imagine being a parent in an unfortunate situation where you do need help and going there, and not being able to receive the help.”
On Dec. 4 at 10:30 p.m., Krepart sat down at her computer and posted a challenge to her friends on Facebook to make a donation.
In the first day she raised $1,000.
As word spread on social media Krepart suddenly found herself with two kids in tow, driving house to house across the city to collect donations of formula and cash.
“I’d strap those two into the car and we’d be in the car listening to great kid music for like five hours.”
The campaign was called ‘Operation No Likes Just Helps’, until a surprise donation compelled Krepart to rename it after Magnus Hay.
The little boy died Dec. 7 – three months after he was born, never making it out of the hospital. While grieving his loss, Magnus’ mother decided to donate the formula she had at home , hoping to help another baby in need.
“I just started ugly bawling, crying at my computer,” Krepart said.
“We renamed the campaign in Magnus Hay’s honour to give it a purpose and momentum and to give her son a legacy.”
In the first year, the Magnus Hay Formula Drive for Winnipeg Harvest raised $10,000 worth of formula and $25,000 cash. The donation was a huge boost to Winnipeg Harvest, which feeds about 1,600 babies each month.
“When she (Krepart) started this formula drive she was able to bring awareness to one of our top 10 items,” Kylie Exner, development associate for third party events at Winnipeg Harvest, said.
Formula is always in high demand and every year Winnipeg Harvest earmarks $200,000 to buy it for babies in need.
“In memory of this little beautiful baby who never made it home, we raised almost $200,000 in cash and formula since 2013,” Krepart said.
While donations can be made to Winnipeg Harvest at any time, Krepart launches her annual push to collect donations for three weeks in December.
“It’s been a real grounding experience for me and it’s been an extremely teachable moment for my kids,” she said.
All thanks to a community ready help and someone inspired to lead the charge.
Susan Krepart is the recipient of the 2017 Global News Women in Leadership Award, handed out in Winnipeg on April 25, 2017 at the Volunteer Manitoba Awards dinner.