“Wine Ninjas” sneaking their way across the Townships

By Gordon Lambie

When Jennifer Ruggins Muir invited a few of her friends to be “wine ninjas” two weeks ago, she had no idea that she would shortly be the administrator of a Facebook group larger than many communities in the townships.
“It’s been fun and a little bit crazy,” Ruggins Muir said, explaining that she got the idea for the group, which covertly deposits bottles of wine or other goodies by the front doors of other members, from an article about a similar project in Alberta. In the two weeks since she and her friends got started, the idea has attracted the attention of almost 1,600 women across the region.
Although clearly still working on keeping up with the popularity of the project, the instigator said that she understands why it would be so popular at a time like this.
“There’s nobody who hasn’t been affected by this,” Ruggins Muir, pointing out that everyone either knows someone who has lost a job in the pandemic or is one themselves. “This is something that brings a little bit of levity and fun back into life.”
The initiative in Alberta that inspired the local wine ninjas has drawn some criticism from the RCMP, who have warned people away from participating in these sorts of projects because of the risks involved in sharing one’s address online. Asked about privacy concerns, Ruggins Muir said that she has heard a few group members echo these worries and has taken some precautions to try to make the group safe.
“It’s a private Facebook group,” she said, explaining that new members have to be admitted. The group is also only open to women and people are encouraged to post their addresses only temporarily to avoid that sensitive information hanging around, and Ruggins Muir said that she has seen people find alternatives to sharing their home address in situations where they feel concerned. “You need to be careful with anything you post online these days.”
Aside from that aspect, however, Ruggins Muir said that she has been delighted to see how group members have taken “paying it forward” to heart.
“It’s been lots of fun,” she said.

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