Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Havixbeck promises to help city's hungry

Mayoral hopeful would welcome Mealshare

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Paula Havixbeck wants to feed the hungry -- and she wants you to help.

The mayoral candidate endorsed a food program -- Mealshare -- that operates in four Canadian cities and hopes it will set up here.

Havixbeck, the first-time councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo, said Thursday she supports all poverty-reduction efforts and believes the Mealshare program could benefit soup kitchens in Winnipeg.

"When elected, I will implement a Mealshare program for the City of Winnipeg," Havixbeck said, while standing in front of Winnipeg Harvest facilities. "Civic government has a role in poverty reduction. We see poverty in our city daily... As civic leaders, we have to take a role in that."

Winnipeg Harvest, which has been operating a similarly named program, Project Meal Share, since 1992 -- welcomed Havixbeck's announcment.

The Mealshare initiative -- operating in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria -- involves restaurants donating a portion of proceeds from designated meals on their menus to partner agencies that buy meals for soup kitchens.

Winnipeg Harvest's Project Meal Share involves area restaurants flash-freezing food that hasn't been served -- mostly soups, stews and bread -- which is picked up by Winnipeg Harvest and distributed to one of the city's 14 soup kitchens.

David Northcott, Winnipeg Harvest executive director, said he's grateful for Havixbeck's commitment, adding while she's endorsing a different initiative, she's drawing attention to Harvest's own program.

"If somebody (Havixbeck) can come to the table under the banner of running for office and be able to say let's get something going, we appreciate that," Northcott said.

Harvest clients involved in Project Meal Share receive professional training and work toward earning a food-handler's certificate, Northcott said, adding many of them are able to find jobs with Project Meal Share partners.

Northcott said 15 restaurants and institutional kitchens participate in Project Meal Share, and he hopes publicity will get others involved. "It really adds a kick to (Project Meal Share)... We thank (Havixbeck) for that," Northcott said. "If she becomes mayor or not, we have no opinion, but right now if she gives us food, we love her very much."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2014 B2

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