Manitoba food banks, shelters facing increase in need of donations

More and more Canadians are falling on tough times, as demand for food banks continues its meteoric rise nationwide over the past few years — with no change in sight.

While food banks in Toronto recently made headlines reporting a four-fold increase in use, Harvest Manitoba CEO Vince Barletta told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that the need continues to grow on the prairies as well.

Harvest, he said, has seen 140-per cent greater need than just three years ago, and many of those asking for help are steadily employed.

“Around 25 per cent of food bank clients are people with jobs — that’s something we’ve never seen before, but that’s only part of the story,” he said.

“Another around 650 new clients came through the doors of Harvest Manitoba in March alone, who are refugees new to our country from Ukraine.”

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Read more: Advocates call for long-term affordability measures as more Manitobans turn to food banks

Barletta said he encourages Manitobans who are financially stable to continue to do what they can to help charities like Harvest make a difference for those who are less fortunate.

“For those Manitobans that are doing OK, for those Manitobans that can continue to give — whether that’s supporting Harvest or supporting other charities that you care about in the community — please continue to do so,” he said.

“The need has never been greater, not only at Harvest but at a number of organizations.”

Click to play video: 'Demand in Harvest Manitoba services'

Demand in Harvest Manitoba services

Another organization with increased demand, Winnipeg’s Siloam Mission, says it’s seeing an increased demand for food and drop-in donations, despite the best efforts of its volunteers.

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Siloam CEO Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud — whose organization was busy preparing its annual Easter meal on Monday — told Global Winnipeg Siloam used to have five to seven days’ worth of food on site, but that has since dropped by more than half in recent years.

“We have seen a doubling over this time last year in the amount of meals that we’re offering,” she said, “and we’ve also seen, at the same time, a decrease in the amount of gifts in kind we’re getting when it comes to food.

“We’re always making do, but we’re not always able to plan in advance.”

Click to play video: 'Working Manitobans using food banks'

Working Manitobans using food banks

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