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This article was published 23/12/2020 (397 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE Winnipeg Police Service is expanding its emergency food box initiative, in partnership with charity Rapid Relief Team Canada, to help support Winnipeggers experiencing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WPS received a donation of 40 food boxes from Rapid Relief at the end of November, the majority of which were distributed within 10 days, Insp. Bonnie Emerson said during a news conference.
On Wednesday, the WPS received an additional 90 boxes to be distributed in emergency situations.
"Winnipeggers are facing increased isolation," Emerson said. "These struggles and their impact are encountered more frequently by our members responding to calls for assistance."
Chris Daniels, director of Rapid Relief Team of North America, said the boxes contain dry goods and canned items that can support a family of four for one-two days.
"The 40 food boxes that have been donated have gone to a very good cause," Daniels said. "The advent of COVID has meant that we’ve been able to really expand and scale up this program, and it’s being used in a wide variety of situations."
In one recent incident, Emerson said, city police responded to a call involving a senior in their 80s who was found to be in dire straits, fairly isolated and without money for food. Officers provided the senior with a food box, purchased a number of grocery store gift cards for the individual, and connected them to the Bear Clan volunteer patrol and A&O Support Services for Older Adults for ongoing support.
Officers who encounter an individual in need can provide the temporary relief of a food box, and connect the individual to ongoing supports to help lighten the load of food insecurity, WPS said.