Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Food bank's founder known for persistence

Harvest now feeds thousands

  • Print

The woman who founded Winnipeg's food banks has died at the age of 61.

Lee Newton turned an idea she heard about in New York into Winnipeg Harvest, which today feeds over 50,000 people.

"She was a gentle but very stubborn spirit," said David Northcott, Winnipeg Harvest executive director. "Once the concept was there, and she believed in it, she would just keep pushing it."

Newton couldn't get the idea out of her head after learning in 1983 about the food banks started in New York by Helen verDuin Palit.

She went to the former Core Area Initiative for funding. They told her to put together a feasability study, which she did. They also put her in touch with Northcott, who was a community organizer in West Broadway at the time.

She opened Winnipeg's first food bank on July 1, 1985, which happened to be her birthday. Today, Winnipeg Harvest distributes 12.5 million pounds of food annually, out of 320 locations, mostly churches, daycares, schools and community gathering spots. It operates on donations without government funding.

Northcott said they always considered the food banks to be stopgap measures that would be wound down after a few years. Instead, it continues to grow.

Newton started as president of the board. She also ran a graphic design company called Newton Coleman & Associates in Osborne Village, in addition to publishing a downtown magazine called Interchange. She left Harvest at one point, feeling it needed new blood. But she returned later as a staffer co-ordinating volunteers before leaving for good in 2010.

Newton met husband Jim Crawford on a blind date in 2003, and they married in 2006, the second marriage for both.

"She was the type of person that loved to make things happen," Crawford said. "She was behind the scenes. She was never one in it for the glory. She never cared for the awards and publicity. She treated every person with the same concern and respect."

But she did win honours, including a YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2005.

Newton was diagnosed last July with a brain tumour and subsequent tests showed cancerous tumours had spread to her lungs and windpipe.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 10, 2014 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google