They’re cloaked in anonymity.
They’re equipped with wine, chocolate and bath bombs.
They’re bringing a bit of brightness to women in dark and difficult times.
They are the NWT Wine Ninjas.
Members of the clandestine collective, organized through a sophisticated online network that spans across the territory, have been anonymously dropping off care packages for women — some of them cooped up and struggling — in need of a boost amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the months-long physical distancing measures it’s brought on.
Hay River’s Catherine Provincial founded the Facebook-fueled group in the NWT.
“I just thought it would really uplift people. Women — we’re social creatures. I thought it would really brighten people’s days,” Provincial told NNSL Media Tuesday.
Provincial, who moved from Alberta to the NWT two years ago, received an invitation to join her home province’s ninja network about two weeks ago. Wine Ninja campaigns have been popping up across the country in recent months.
Provincial then launched a Facebook page for the territory. Within the first day, hundreds of women joined. The group now boasts some 3,300 members in Yellowknife, Norman Wells, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and other communities across the territory.
Members wishing to receive parcels from strangers send their addresses to the group. From there, recipients — broken down by each community — are randomly selected.
That’s when the fun begins.
“Some people dress up like ninjas; others dress up in other costumes. Then they just drop the package off and run away. You can ring the doorbell or knock on the door, it’s totally up to the person,” said Provincial.
Remaining anonymous is the point, she added.
“That kind of takes away from it being a ‘look at what I just did,’ ‘look at me,’ thing,” said Provincial.
“Ninja’d” women then take to the Facebook group to share their appreciation.
“So many women are commenting on how they’ve just had a terrible day or week and that just receiving that gift has turned it around for them,” said Provincial.
Kandola, Cook receive gifts — a lot of them
In an exception to the rule, NWT Wine Ninjas recently came together to drop off (a lot) of gifts to two women in Yellowknife who weren’t part of the Facebook group: Dr. Kami Kandola and Dr. Sarah Cook, two health professionals who have become household names in the North during the Covid-19 crisis.
One of four NWT Wine Ninja Facebook page admins in the capital set up the drop off.
“They wanted to do it in a way that was anonymous but still showed that (Kandola and Cook) were appreciated,” said Provincial.
Provincial said she’s been “blown away” by how much the group has grown in just a couple short weeks.
“I’m so thankful that it’s serving the purpose that I had intended it for. It just makes my heart so happy to see women blessing one another and having so much fun with it,” she said.