Winnipeg Harvest feeds approximately 63,000 individuals each month, and nearly 42% are children. Despite the generous food donations by individuals and businesses in Manitoba, there is never enough baby/infant formula to meet the demand. As a result, Harvest has an annual cash operating cost of $200,000 designated strictly for the purchase of formula—this cost is covered 100% by Hunger for Hope.
First Steps is a program of Winnipeg Harvest dedicated to ending child hunger in Manitoba. In 2007, Corus Radio Winnipeg and Winnipeg Harvest began this province-wide fundraising initiative to provide hungry Manitoba babies with nutritious infant formula and baby food.
Since 2007, First Steps has raised over $1.2-million for hungry babies in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
Together – let’s be the first city and province in Canada to stand up and say ‘We will not let one child go to bed hungry!’
CHILD HUNGER – THE SAD FACTS
- On average 1,600 infants require emergency baby formula from Winnipeg Harvest each month.
- In March 2015, Harvest fed nearly 27,000 children a month compared to 5,500 in 2000.
- Winnipeg Harvest spends over $200,000 for baby food and formula a year.
- Manitoba has one of the worst child poverty rates. It has the second highest rate of child food bank users in Canada with 42% of food bank recipients being children (2015 numbers).
- In the last six years, almost 40% of children have lived in poverty for at least one year
- An Aboriginal child under six years of age is three times as likely to live in poverty as a non-Aboriginal child. Among all Aboriginal children under six in Winnipeg, 68% or nearly 7 in 10 live in families below the LICO
- Nearly 1 in 3 children of recent immigrants or refugees live in poverty.
- In Manitoba, 69.4% of all children of low-income children live in families where at least one income earner has a full-time job all year
- One third of the families, experiencing hunger are often dual wage-earner families, the working poor.
- First Steps distributes meals and snack food to 63 community programs, 38 day cares and 26 schools.
- There are food banks in 7 universities/colleges including; the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Red River College, Yellowquill College, Winnipeg Adult Education Centre, Horizon Learning Centre and Aboriginal Community Campus.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY NUTRITION
Many studies suggest that the years from conception to age six, are the most influential in the life cycle, effecting brain development, school readiness and health in later life.
Children living in poverty are at risk because:
- Babies born to low-income parents are twice as likely to be born with a low birth rate – which is the leading cause of infant death and illness in infancy and childhood.
- 60-90% of children from low income families suffer from early childhood tooth decay compared to 5-10% of children generally in North America. Tooth decay is painful and results in trouble sleeping, eating and learning.
First Steps is working towards ending hunger for infants and children through the following goals:
- Covering the annual operating expense for feeding babies and young children through Winnipeg Harvest.
- Expanding programs where needed to include nutritional programs to families, day cares and schools. Hunger is more than not having an empty stomach. Hunger means not getting daily nutrition to lead a fully active, productive and healthy life.
- Providing awareness to the unacceptable situation with babies, infants and young children going hungry in our city and province.
- Creating an endowment fund with additional funds so by the year 2015 we can stand up and say, “No baby, infant, or child will ever go to bed hungry in Winnipeg and Manitoba!”
- Raising a minimum of $200,000 each year to cover Winnipeg Harvest’s annual cash operating cost of $200,000 for the purchase of baby food and formula. With the additional funds, create an endowment fund to address this need well into the future.
- Promoting proper nutrition as critical to leading active, productive and healthy lives; expand programs that provide nutritional education to families, daycares and schools.
- Heightening awareness of the problem and generate support from individuals and businesses in Manitoba.
You can help! Support First Steps fundraising initiatives, or visit Winnipeg Harvest online and make a donation today. (tax receipts will be issued on all donations of $10.00 or more)
For more information, please contact: