Volunteers distribute pizza, cookies to the needy

Free hugs, anyone?

Free hugs, anyone?

A Red Deer businesswoman wants others to give, starting with arms wide open.

For the last five years, Michelle Walker, owner of Inhale Oxygen Bar, has hit the streets and shelters running with donations of what she calls “pick me up baskets” filled with some essential products.

This year, she took to Facebook to solicit donations in order to feed the needy in the city.

Earlier this week, Walker and volunteers from Synthetic Productions distributed 36 donated pizzas, drinks and cookies — provided by various businesses and organizations — to the homeless in shelters and on the streets.

Walker said people cried in their arms.

“We offer free hugs,” she said. “I thought people would be apprehensive about it and it was the total opposite. Even the guys were hugging the guys. It was so neat to see. We hear people cry, people laugh.”

Walker takes donations on her business’s Facebook page and the Red Deer Food Bank helps, too.

They are calling the program the Inhale Oxygen Bar/Synthetic Productions Feed The Need program. It will run once a month in the city. One month they could donate sandwiches while another hey could donate baskets.

Next September, she would like to get the local schools involved.

“We’re Canadians,” said Walker. “This is what we are meant to do. I just don’t get people will turn a blind eye on it and don’t help. They are willing to help people in Africa but it’s in your backyard where you need to help. Help your community, support local.”

To help out, contact Walker at Inhale Oxygen Bar on Facebook.

Red Deer’s point in time count on Oct. 16, 2012, revealed a total of 279 people were homeless. The city’s next homeless count will be conducted in October.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Sylvan Lake council passes 2019 budget

Tax rate increase of 2.74 per cent set for this year

Relief for drivers in construction zones

Motorists in favour of change

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read