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Cynthia Stewart volunteers at the Winnipeg Humane Society as a Food Bank Delivery Driver, a position she has held since April 2023. She is one of many drivers who deliver dog and cat food on a bi-weekly basis to people with low income or who have mobility issues.

Cynthia began volunteering at the WHS in 2007 and has mostly worked at special events, such as Paws in Motion, the Bow Wow Ball, Bark in the Park, the Book Sale, WHS Telethon, and dog walking at the old shelter on Nairn Avenue. Now her efforts are mainly dedicated to pet food delivery.

In her current role, she goes to the shelter every other Saturday, where the Intake Department has prepared a list of deliveries for the day. The individual packages are already prepared, and her job is to load them in her vehicle, figure out her delivery schedule, (pick up a Tim’s coffee!) and head out to locations throughout the city. She will not leave packages at the front door or in hallways, so she calls each person before delivery, to ensure that someone is there.

She is happy that the winter was mild this year because it can be challenging to navigate over snowbanks or through deep puddles while carrying food and litter.

Cynthia is very proud to be part of the WHS that has responded to such a great need in the community. So many people with limited income have pets who face being surrendered because their owners cannot afford to feed them. She has seen firsthand how much the pets mean to their owners – and how much the owners mean to their pets.

Cynthia’s family often had pet dogs when she was growing up, and since the 1980s she has always had cats, all of whom have come from shelters. Her first and most memorable cat was Charlie, a white Siamese kitten who appeared outside her office and had been chased by neighbourhood kids.

“He was covered in fleas and was pretty rough looking, but we took him in and gave him warm milk,” Cynthia explains. “He drank it all, looked around for a chair, leapt up, and fell asleep. He had my heart then, and needless to say, he went home with me.”

Currently Cynthia has three shelter cats, Tony, Buddy, and Notty. Tony and Buddy are seven and eight, and had become like stereotyped “teenagers” who only slept and ate, so she thought there needed to be more activity in the home. Enter Notty – who really is naughty! She is curious, active, smart, and very loveable. The two boys have had a bit of an adjustment but have also become more active in her presence. Mission accomplished!

It is Cynthia’s lifelong interest in animal welfare that led her to the WHS, and she can see herself being a part of it for a long time to come.