The latest COVID-19 social distancing trend taking over the internet in Alberta is Wine Ninja.
This trend started after a few Alberta women including one of the founders, 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 for months. Their conversation turned to joking about how they should make wine deliveries to each other ninja style; and when they ran out of wine how it would be nice 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 that her and her friend expected the group to maybe grow to a 1,000 members but were shocked to see it explode to over 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 in the comments. 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 of the page and a Wetaskiwin area resident Gail Hansen received a basket with wine, a potted flower and holder, a candle, some treats for her and her dogs and toilet paper.
Once you have been “ninja’d” you simply edit your status in the page to include a wine glass emoji to symbolize that you have received a package.
Women across Alberta have not only been receiving anonymous gift bags and baskets full of treats catered to them but are also enjoying creating something special for others, even if they are a stranger.
Some are even getting creative in the way they deliver 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 brings the community together,” van Deventer said. “This was an amazing idea.”
In addition to finding women through the Alberta Wine Ninjas page to surprise with baskets, van Deventer has made surprise baskets for Wetaskiwin group homes with Playdough, bubbles, freezies, chocolates, colouring supplies and glowsticks.
Van Deventer isn’t the only Wetaskiwin area woman to get in the spirit of Wine Ninja.
“I’ve always loved giving gifts and making people feel special,” said another Wetaskiwin area wine ninja, Salena Johnson. “Being able to do that for total strangers is even more magical.”
The collective feeling is that the Wine Ninja initiative has not only been fun, but uplifting. In a time of stress and uncertainty with the pandemic, bringing surprise packages to make a stranger’s day is exciting.
The majority of women participating say that posting their address in Alberta Wine Ninjas doesn’t concern them. They have faith in the fact that everyone on the page has their address posted and that the group is surrounded by positivity and good will.
Stubbert says some of the stories that have come out of the overwhelming participation in the page are heartwarming.
“One lady has been helping so much with families since the pandemic has started that she has delivered 147 food hampers while also having terminal cancer herself,” Stubbert said. “We found her story so touching we asked our group to show her love and support by going and doing a super ninja drop for her.”
Stubbert has also noticed a lot of support for front line workers on the page as well.
“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 also,” Stubbert said.
There is also a separate page dedicated to men only called Alberta Whisky Ninjas, in addition to other gifting groups with the same premise dubbing men “whisky wizards” instead of “wine ninjas.”