‘No youngsters will go hungry’: Harvesting Hope 2017 brings in $112Okay for Winnipeg Harvest

Harvesting Hope 2017, CBC Manitoba’s weekend-long drive for Winnipeg Harvest, has brought in $112,128 for the food bank during this year’s campaign.

The annual radiothon kicked off Friday morning and by the end of the day listeners had brought in nearly $106,000 — including $25,000 that came late in the day from an anonymous donor — and the remaining money was donated online over the weekend.

“We’re very excited about what we can do with these funds,” said Harvest’s communication manager, Sheldon Appelle, as the final numbers were tallied Sunday night. “Especially this time of the year with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s going to be extra special for more families here in Manitoba.”

Appelle said the money will be used to help feed the more than 64,000 people Winnipeg Harvest serves every month, a number that’s gone up from 62,000 people a month last year.

Because the food bank is able to leverage every dollar into about $20 worth of food, the donations from this year’s Harvesting Hope make an even stronger impact, says Appelle.

“We raised $110,000, and if we do the math, that’s over $2 million worth of food right there.”

The food helps organizations like Winnipeg’s Indigenous Family Centre, which distributes boxes of packaged food to dozens of patrons twice a month.

Michelle Visser, director of the Indigenous Family Centre, said dignity is important to her and her team. (Janice Grant/CBC)The centre gets its food in bulk deliveries, dropped off on-site by a Winnipeg Harvest truck.

The boxes include fruit and vegetables, soup and crackers, dog food and cat food, and more, divided evenly between boxes so people don’t have to worry about the supply running out before they get there. 

“It’s a continual challenge for people to be able to afford healthy food on a low, low income,” the centre’s director, Michele Visser told CBC News last week.”Some people [on social assistance] are getting maybe $8,000 [per year] to live on, and I’m actually being generous with that number.… Who of us can survive on that, and access food, clothing, shelter — basic human needs?”

Holidays are a busy time of year

Sadly, Appelle said, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for Harvest, so the generosity shown during the Harvesting Hope campaign couldn’t come at a better time.

“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s when a lot of families are in need because there’s a lot of families who can’t afford to have a great dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we just want to make sure that these families have enough to eat… and no kids will go hungry,” he said. “It’s our job to make sure we have the money, make sure we have the volunteers and make sure we have the food to make the holidays great for everybody.”

The radiothon featured live performances from local musicians and stories from people who have used the food bank, while asking the public to donate money to the cause.

Harvest’s top five most-needed items this year are:

  • Canned fish and poultry.
  • Baby food and formula.
  • Canned vegetables or fruit.
  • Canned stew, chili or brown beans.
  • Light peanut butter.

Go to Winnipeg Harvest’s website to find out how to make donations or become a volunteer.

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