The latest COVID-19 social distancing trend on the internet is Wine Ninja.
The trend started after a few Alberta women, including Shannon Stubbert, from Red Deer, came up with the idea of how great it would be to receive a surprise wine delivery.
Stubbert and her friend were drinking wine and talking on the phone one night, lamenting that they hadn’t seen each other in months.
Their conversation turned to joking about how they should make wine deliveries to each other ninja style; and how when they ran out of wine, how nice it would be to have a wine ninja drop more by the door.
That night, Stubbert and her friend created the Alberta Wine Ninjas Facebook group.
“The aim of the group was to do something special for your neighbour, even if you didn’t know her, to brighten her day in these uncertain and isolated times,” Stubbert said.
Stubbert says she and her friend expected the group to maybe grow to 1,000 members, but were shocked to see it explode to more than 50,000 members in six days.
The premise of Alberta Wine Ninjas is that you join the group, find the area you live in under albums, and enter your address and what you like to enjoy as a treat. It can include non-alcoholic drinks, wine, coolers, chocolate, or trinkets, etc.
The gifts can be as simple or extravagant as you wish. One member, Wetaskiwin area resident Gail Hansen, received a basket with wine, a potted flower, a candle, some treats for her and her dogs and toilet paper.
Once you have been “ninja’d,” you simply edit your status on the page to include a wine glass emoji to indicate that you have received a package.
Women across Alberta have not only been receiving anonymous gift bags and baskets full of treats, but are also enjoying creating something special for others, even if they are strangers.
Some are even getting creative in the way they deliver their packages, sometimes getting in goofy costumes or dressing head to toe in black, like a ninja.
Wetaskiwin Wine Ninja Marie-Ann van Deventer and one of her daughters have dropped off packages dressed as a panda and Captain America.
“I think this is such an incredible way to uplift people’s spirits and really bring the community together,” van Deventer said. “This was an amazing idea.”
Stubbert has noticed a lot of support for front-line workers on the page.
“Front-line workers and nurses working 12- to 14-hour days are coming home to find a bottle of wine, some bubble bath waiting for them, and seeing how much it touches them is absolutely amazing,” Stubbert said.
There is a separate page dedicated to men, called Alberta Whisky Ninjas, in addition to other gifting groups with the same premise, dubbing men “whisky wizards,” instead of “wine ninjas.”