1. Winnipeg Harvest
2. Lake Winnipeg Foundation
3. Resource Assistance for Youth
For 31 years, Winnipeg Harvest has provided local families with somewhere to turn when they might not have much else.
While having to access a charity is never a pleasant experience, it’s easy to see why Harvest’s dedication to community support is being recognized.
Communications manager Chris Albi has been with the organization for seven and a half years and says that things are constantly changing for Harvest.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s been an increase in food bank use, a decrease in food bank use, then an increase, so it’s been up and down,” Albi says. “What we’re really seeing now is definitely more people coming from unstable situations.
“Low income people that don’t have affordable housing, people on welfare that rates haven’t increased in over 20 years … we’re seeing more newcomers, immigrants, so we’re seeing a plethora of different people. More seniors than we’ve ever seen before. Students are a percentage of our population as well.”
To meet the demands, Harvest moved into a larger building in 2012 and incorporated a training centre that offers sessions in safe food handling, forklift certification and computer skills. The company also has a large garden on site, which not only contributes to the food bank but also provides a space to teach the community about growing their own food.
Albi says the food bank is still the No. 1 most-used program, but that Harvest also collects and distributes baby formula, pet food, feminine hygiene products and toiletries.
“For every $1 (we receive), we move $20 of food,” Albi says. “Your donation goes a long way.”