As Manitoba re-opens in June, the Government has started to ease several lockdown restrictions. We continue to examine our processes as part of this ever-evolving situation to ensure we can continue to serve and nourish our community in the safest and best ways possible.
In Phase 2, some things will change, and some things will stay the same.
What’s staying the same?
- Nutritious Food Hampers: To practice social distancing and to ensure the safety of our community, we switched to monthly food hamper that included 10-14 days of food support and other household essentials to help stretch budgets over a 4-week period. This will continue for the foreseeable future.
- Local Manitoba producers and farm families also made much needed contributions to our hampers including chicken, eggs and milk.
- Our ability to produce hampers continues to be dependent on donations of food and funds. With supply chains interrupted, we continue to purchase food and other critical grocery items, sometimes at higher prices, to meet increased demand. We also continue to source food from closed restaurants and other local businesses to obtain the food we need while supporting our local economy. As the province re-opens, we expect increased donations from corporate retailers and community food drives to increase.
- Winnipeg Hub: With volunteer workforce shortages, 1085 Winnipeg Avenue was converted into a Call Centre and Distribution Hub. Anyone needing food assistance in Manitoba would call in to register through our Emergency Food Assistance Line. In the Warehouse, trained emergency volunteers collected, sorted and packed our food hampers for distribution. Food Hampers were distributed to food banks by our truck fleet six-days a week, and for local partner agencies, we switched to a drive-thru distribution model. This allowed local partners to have safe access to food so they could continue to operate their own programs.
- Clients who normally collected food from Harvest were redirected to the nearest food bank for hamper collection. Our kitchen and other public-facing areas will stay closed.
- We are now packing new baby kits in the Warehouse, which will be added to the Food Hampers of families with children who have registered for assistance. Based on availability, the baby kits will contain powdered formula, boxed baby cereal, individual food pouches, 20-pack of size one diapers or six-pack of size three diapers.
- Boeing Canada examined our Warehouse operations and provided training on how to safely sort and distribute food via an efficient, assembly line. This has allowed us to open up additional Volunteer shifts in the evenings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering at Harvest, please apply to join our team!
- All our food support programs continue to operate keeping food flowing to the most vulnerable Manitobans except for our weekly school and daycare food programs that provide a daily source of food and nutrition for school aged children. We are currently looking at ways in which our meal and snack programs can resume so we can provide food support to hungry children during the week and on weekends.
- We continue to advocate for the Government of Manitoba to implement a school breakfast program so we can feed the 35,000 school children that go without food in Manitoba (Source: Government of Manitoba RFP to establish a Home Nutrition and Learning Program, 04-22-2020).
As we work to serve our community in this new reality, we are aware that our future remains uncertain. We want to send a heartfelt thank you to you, our community of Harvest Heroes for your kindness. Your support and encouragement give us the strength to continue our essential service today, while we work toward a better tomorrow where no one goes hungry in Manitoba.
*View Past Monthly Operations Updates
How You can Be a Harvest Hero.
- Donate money. We don’t know how long this crisis will last and we expect it to get worse before it gets better. Every dollar you give will feed a hungry neighbour – children, families and at-risk older adults.
- Donate time. We need of healthy individuals to help us sort and package food for people in need. Sign up to Be a Volunteer.
- Fill our bins at your local grocery store.
- Share our message and tag #wpgharvest and #winnipegharvest
If you, or anyone you know, Needs Food please direct them to us so that we can help.