Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba is a not-for-profit, community based organization. Our goals are to collect and share surplus food with people who are hungry and to offer training opportunities to help people step up and out of poverty. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for food banks in our community.

Find out more at www.harvestmanitoba.ca

Recent articles of Harvest Manitoba

Hunger doesn’t take a holiday

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Preview

Hunger doesn’t take a holiday

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Yesterday at 2:01 AM CST

Each month, Harvest supplies food to nearly 90,000 Manitobans. Almost half are children. This past year, Harvest has seen the need for food assistance in our communities rise to new heights due to the soaring food prices.

In September of this year, we saw an 11.4 per cent inflation rate — a level not seen for 30 years. Inflation creates additional hardships for low-wage earners, seniors on a fixed income, and those facing disability and other health challenges.

Harvest’s clients have revealed how inflation is impacting them. One of Harvest’s clients shared, “I used to use the food bank a lot when I was younger, and then I stopped because I found cheaper housing and had some extra money, but I started again in April of 2022 because of the high prices of everything and not having enough money for our basic needs.”

Grocery budgets simply do not stretch as far as they did a year ago, and rising prices for other goods has created even more financial stress for households.

Yesterday at 2:01 AM CST

Increased need at Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Preview

Increased need at Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

This past year, Harvest Manitoba has seen need for food in our communities increase to new highs. The combination of rising inflation, economic insecurity and later waves of the COVID-19 pandemic made 2022 a year where support from donors and supporters was more critical than ever.

The number of Harvest hampers has gone up by over 40 per cent since 2021, with almost 15,000 households depending on Harvest hampers every month.

In addition to the increased pressures of inflation and economic uncertainty, Harvest Manitoba has a new group of clients requiring its services, Ukrainian newcomers who are restarting their lives in Manitoba. Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have settled in Manitoba since the war began in February.

Nataliia is one of those clients. She came to Winnipeg with her five-year-old son in August. They were forced to flee their country with just two suitcases, leaving their homeland, family, and friends behind. She is incredibly thankful to the organizations that have provided them with a new home, a sense of community, and healthy food.

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

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Nataliia came to Winnipeg from war-torn Ukraine with her five-year-old son in August. They were forced to flee their country with just two suitcases. She is incredibly thankful to the organizations that have provided them with a new home, a sense of community, and healthy food.

Meals2Go program provides healthy food to kids

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Preview

Meals2Go program provides healthy food to kids

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Food is essential to a brighter future — it is the fuel for student success. Harvest Manitoba knows how integral food is for child health. Since 2018, Harvest has been providing kindergarten to Grade 8 students in Winnipeg schools with access to food through our Meals2Go program. This program provides kids with a bag of healthy food items, including fruit, milk, cheese and cereal, helping them stay on top of their nutrition over the weekend and ready to learn on Monday morning.

This donor-supported program has been a huge success, and we would like to bring this important program to even more children in Manitoba.

Without access to healthy food, many children begin to fall behind in school. And in severe cases, chronic hunger can affect their physical development. While school-provided meals help, far too many kids often go without nourishing meals in the evenings and on weekends.

Rising inflation is making healthy food even harder to afford for so many of our families, forcing them to make very tough decisions.

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Maxim Truck & Trailer BBQ raises over $35,000 for Harvest

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Preview

Maxim Truck & Trailer BBQ raises over $35,000 for Harvest

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Maxim Truck & Trailer’s live charity BBQ event, held at their head office in Winnipeg on June 9, raised $35,704 in support of Harvest Manitoba.

The in-person event – the first in almost three years – was attended by approximately 500 guests. It took a team of more than 80 Maxim employee volunteers to organize the annual event, which has been part of Maxim’s history for more than 20 years. Funds raised were from Maxim’s corporate, employees, customers, suppliers, and friends who helped make the annual event a big success.

“Whether it’s time or money, it’s important to me that our company has a culture of giving back,” Troy Hamilton, Maxim Truck & Trailer president, said. “Maxim has always had a mandate to give back to our community. We continue to see a tremendous amount of need out there, particularly with the high cost of food. We want to do our part to ensure no one goes hungry.”

Maxim Truck & Trailer has 17 branch offices and over 500 employees in 10 cities from Vancouver to Montreal. The company is committed to supporting charitable causes.

Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Doug Harvey (founder of Maxim Truck & Trailer), Vince Barletta (Harvest Manitoba, President & CEO), Colleen McVarish (Harvest Manitoba, director of food & fundraising), Troy Hamilton (president of Maxim Truck & Trailer) at Maxim’s June 9 charity BBQ.

Life-changing help for those like Linda

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Preview

Life-changing help for those like Linda

Harvest Manitoba 2 minute read Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

In 2013, Linda received the diagnosis no one ever wants to hear – terminal cancer.

She was told to get her affairs in order and she took an early retirement from a career that included many years of work with various community organizations in Winnipeg. Although she was fearing the worst, Linda was able to beat back the terminal cancer diagnosis. Although she continues to have many health challenges and continues to receive cancer treatment, Linda is able to live on her own – with her dog Maggi,e of course!

Linda has always thought of herself as a thrifty person. She raised four children on her own in St. James and knows the value of a dollar. Linda was never someone who thought she would ever need to get support from an organization like Harvest – until now.

Linda overcame the biggest battle of her life in the fight against endometrial cancer, but the experience has taken a tremendous toll on her health and financial independence. This year’s pharmacare deductible for her cancer medicine is also a big hit to the grocery budget.

Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

Harvest Manitoba is there for thousands of people just like Linda, who can’t make ends meet with rising prices for food and other necessities

In tough times those with the least hurt most

Harvest Manitoba 3 minute read Preview

In tough times those with the least hurt most

Harvest Manitoba 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022

Recent months have been difficult for too many families in Manitoba. For low-wage earners, seniors on a fixed income, those facing disability and other health challenges, there have been many reasons why this winter has been especially difficult. We started 2022 with another wave of COVID-19, the Omicron variant, that once again closed many businesses and filled our hospitals to capacity. These challenges created hardship for many in the midst of an already hard and cold winter.

In recent months, we have also begun to see another challenge building for many people – rising prices. This past month, inflation rates increased to 5.7 per cent in Canada, levels not seen for 30 years. For certain basics, such as fuel and food, the rate of inflation has been even higher. High prices for the basics means that a growing number of Manitobans simply cannot make ends meet. The budget for groceries simply does not stretch as far as it did a year ago, and rising prices for other goods creates even more financial stress for households.

At Harvest Manitoba, that hardship means even more Manitobans need help putting basic food on the table. This past February, Harvest passed a grim milestone – the first time in our history that we provided food hampers to over 12,000 households in a single month. That represented nearly 35,000 people, over 40 per cnet of them children. The need is not only in Winnipeg but in communities throughout the province. Some of the largest increases in the need for food are in communities Harvest serves outside the city, where fewer transportation options make record-high gas prices an even greater burden.

These record high prices are driving ever higher demand for food aid in our province, but these same high prices are also making it more costly for Harvest Manitoba to operate. In order to do our work supporting Manitoba families, we run a fleet of commercial vehicles and high fuel costs make that work more expensive. Harvest also purchases food throughout the year to supplement the generous donations that come from our grocery partners, food producers and the public. Higher food prices mean our budget to purchase food is also stretched. As we face record-high demand for food hampers, this increases the costs of everything we do.

Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2022

Record-high prices for gasoline and rising food costs mean that the essential work of Harvest Manitoba has become more expensive.

How good companies build great community

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

How good companies build great community

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Feb. 21, 2022

Corporate leadership typically comes from ‘the boss’ or ‘management’. But almost every business has individuals throughout the company with untapped leadership and team-building potential. They possess energy, ideals, initiative and ideas that go beyond their job description. All they need is an opportunity.

The Harvest event

One of the best options for harnessing this energy is a Harvest event. Helping Harvest in its mission to feed hungry kids and families is a project your staff can own. It doesn’t compete with or require fulfilment based on job titles or internal power structures. And that’s its superpower.

 

Monday, Feb. 21, 2022

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All it takes is a poster in the lunch- or break room to get a Harvest event going.

Resolutions fail – let’s try something new

Harvest Manitoba 3 minute read Preview

Resolutions fail – let’s try something new

Harvest Manitoba 3 minute read Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

It’s time to give up on new year’s resolutions and switch to something less prone to failure — new year’s intentions.

Overwhelmingly, resolutions become onerous. They fade and fail, and when they do, we feel like we’ve failed. But with new year’s intentions, your good intent is always alive and waiting for you to use it!

There’s no guilt if you haven’t acted yet — because all it takes to turn your good intentions into good actions is a gentle reminder. And that the best reminder is a timely reminder, so please read on!

Harvest Hamper helper intention program

Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

Harvest Image image
These food items are always welcome in the Harvest Manitoba bins at your local grocery stores.

We are a community of Harvest Stars

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

We are a community of Harvest Stars

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

We survived 2021 thanks to our community of Harvest Stars!

Yup — COVID-19 has been a challenge for a lot of people in our community, and for Harvest. However, the fact Harvest survived because of community is a series of harrowing moments and heartening tales.

FACT: Traditional food donations fell by 300,000 pounds (30 per cent) but producers stepped up.

It takes a province to feed a province. During COVID, the need went up and food donations went down as supply chains were interrupted and those who normally volunteer were in lockdown. We received crucial support from producers and farm families like the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, MB Egg Farmers, Manitoba Chicken and Pork Producers.

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

Supplied photo by Svjetlana Mlinarevic
Sisters, and Harvest Stars, Christine Pariseau and Colleen Frederickson pack hampers for Harvest.

Volunteers needed at Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Volunteers needed at Harvest Manitoba

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Oct. 25, 2021

In the middle of the Harvest warehouse, surrounded by food, forklifts, conveyor belts and people, you think: “I’m doing this. We’re feeding kids.”

It can be a huge boost to your soul and it’s not uncommon to hear a Harvest volunteer say, “It’s the best job in the world.”

Children represent 46 per cent of those who receive food from Harvest (80,000 people a month). So, yes — with every Harvest hamper you fill, you are feeding babies, toddlers, students, plus hungry moms, dads, seniors and those with chronic illness. There’s only one demographic that counts: hunger.

Harvest volunteers work in a friendly, COVID-safe environment. You are on a team, so it’s got that something-bigger-than-yourself kind of feel. Often you are there with a friend, family member or co-worker, and they follow all public health and safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing. Regular facility-cleaning between shifts remains in effect, too.

Monday, Oct. 25, 2021

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By December, the average household will have to pay five per cent more for groceries.

Meet new Harvest CEO Vince Barletta

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Meet new Harvest CEO Vince Barletta

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Harvest Manitoba’s board of directors announced earlier this month that Vince Barletta is the new CEO of the organization.  His resumé features top-level non-profit management experience, most recently as president and CEO of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.

We caught up with him for an interview in which he showed capability, vision and caring so we wanted to share some of his thoughts with you:   

• On settling in - I think that for any leader coming into something new, the most important thing is to listen and gain knowledge from the people that are there. That includes the staff, the board, the volunteers, the donors, and our partners. I will be taking the first number of months to learn how we have worked together in the past and how we can work together in the future.

• Child hunger - Manitobans share a deep sense of responsibility to all our kids. No childhood should be hungry or worrying about their next meal. A healthy meal is not going to solve all challenges faced by young people, but hunger will affect them for life, and it’s an area where we can do something. So, let’s do it.

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

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Vince Barletta, recently the president and CEO of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, is the new CEO of Harvest Manitoba.

Harvest Voices and the pyramid of choices

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Harvest Voices and the pyramid of choices

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2021

It takes a province, and an organization like Harvest Manitoba, to feed a province. With a task that big - to feed 80,000 people a month and counting - you must be efficient, organized and knowledgeable. You must know food and nutrition, and you must know the needs and life conditionsof the people who need food support to get by.

Harvest Voices is a new survey we conducted, in which we asked Harvest recipients about their lives.

The published report will contain plenty of charts and academic footnotes, but Harvest Voices is not about the food. It turns out that more than anything else, Harvest Voices is about people who need food and about what they need to be self-sufficient.

Here are a few of the lessons we learned from the 2021 Harvest Voices report:

Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2021

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Harvest’s pyramid of choices illustrates the realities that people must face.

Harvest CEO leaving a legacy after 3.5 years

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Harvest CEO leaving a legacy after 3.5 years

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Jun. 28, 2021

In September 2021, after three and a half years at the helm, Keren Taylor-Hughes will step down as chief executive officer of Harvest Manitoba. You may not have heard or seen her in the media, but she has been a CEO such as Harvest has never had before.

Keren recently gave an interview about her experiences as Harvest CEO. The stories she told did not make the news, but they made a difference.

Here are three of those stories:

The clean sweep

Monday, Jun. 28, 2021

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press
Keren Taylor-Hughes, Harvest Manitoba CEO, will be leaving the organization in September, but has taken time to share some of her favourite stories.

Unpacking a Harvest hamper 3: The baby kit

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Unpacking a Harvest hamper 3: The baby kit

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, May. 24, 2021

Feeding babies • Nurturing parentsThe fourth and final box in the Harvest Hamper was labeled ‘Baby Kit’.

As I start unboxing, I see it contains formula, pablum, diapers and wipes. I imagine that for a family with a newborn, this is pure gold. But more powerfully, when I hold the two Ziploc bags of disposable diapers in my hands, what I feel is connection and love. Both bags have been packed and labelled by hand. One bag is marked ‘Size 1’ and the other is ‘Size 3-4T’.

I found out later that volunteers love working on the ‘baby box’. I can understand why. In this moment, as my hands are physically feeling the cool plastic bag outside and baby-soft contents inside, it’s easy to imagine how a stressed parent could feel that they came not from a hamper but from the hands of another mom or dad who understood the feelings of joy and stress of a new baby.

I believe this empathy, this feeling of connection, family, and community is part of the Harvest experience we all share. It happens whether we give or receive. Add in a baby and it really hits home.

Monday, May. 24, 2021

Dreamstime.com
A Harvest Manitoba baby kit contains: Three tubs Abbott Similac Advance; 4 boxes of Gerber baby cereal; 10 disposable diapers (size 1); 10 disposable diapers (size 3-4T); one package of Huggies baby wipes.

Unpacking a Harvest hamper, part 2

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Unpacking a Harvest hamper, part 2

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

Last month, we explored the perishable (fresh) foods in a typical Harvest hamper.

Today, as we explore the non-perishable (packaged or canned) goods, we appreciate the combined nutritional value, emotional comfort and culinary potential contained in the Harvest hamper.A hearty, healthy start

I have never had a two-pound (907 grams) bag of green lentils in my larder. I checked out lentil nutrition and recipes. Turns out I’ve been missing a tasty, healthy food. I found one-pot recipes and kid-friendly recipes at MyFussyEater.com and I’m going to try it out.

The other carb and starch staple in my hamper is a two-pound bag of long-grain white rice. This I know. Cook for about 15 minutes, serve with a little salt, butter, soya, or taco seasoning and you’re done.

Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

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Canned fruit (any kind) is the No. 1 most-wanted item you can put in the Harvest Tin For The Bin. You’ll find out why in a later article

Unpacking a Harvest hamper

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Unpacking a Harvest hamper

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Mar. 29, 2021

One of the things I have always wondered was ‘What’s in a Harvest hamper?’ so I got one, and I’m writing about it.

There are four boxes or bags that make up the Harvest hamper. Three of them have labels: perishables, non-perishables, and baby kit. The fourth has no label but it’s full of fresh and frozen items as donated, such as chicken, eggs and bread.

In the first instalment of these columns, we’ll look at the perishable items in a Harvest hamper.

This is NOT Hello Fresh

Monday, Mar. 29, 2021

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Harvest hamper contents vary depending on what food is donated. Almost 11,000,000 pounds of food is donated per year. Pictured are the fresh foods in the hamper reviewed in this column.

The doctors and nurses of ‘Harvest U’

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

The doctors and nurses of ‘Harvest U’

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

Harvest is generally all about food, nutrition, and feeding hungry Manitobans today. What most people don’t know is that Harvest brings more than food to the table, including offering training programs like ‘Harvest U.’

Harvest U

Nothing Harvest does is ‘fancy’, and this classroom is no exception. What happens here is exceptional.

Every student who attends Harvest U becomes a high-level, hands-on, lifelong asset in the fight against hunger. They become better informed and more inspired, and over the course of their chosen careers, they will help far more Manitobans than those who sign up for Harvest hampers. Actually, sooner or later, they help all of us, including you.

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

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Meaghan Erbus is manager of advocacy and impact at Harvest Manitoba. Harvest U has been running for 16 years.

Unmasking a special donation

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

Unmasking a special donation

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

When most Manitobans think of Harvest, they’re usually walking out of the grocery, realizing “Oh no, I forgot to put something in the bin for Harvest.”

MedSup Canada, a medical supply company with production facilities in Canada, has not forgotten. Last month it donated 1.5 million face masks to Harvest Manitoba. Thanks to this generosity, Harvest is now able to do something it rarely can — give back to the community that has supported Harvest for 35 years, many of whom are now struggling to get by themselves.

 The value of in-kind donations

It takes a lot of resources besides donated food, time and money to provide thousands of Harvest hampers a month. In-kind donations can be any product or service that Harvest needs, such as hamper boxes, trucks and gasoline to run them, computers, office paint or cleaning products. In-kind donations fill crucial needs without spending hard-earned donation dollars to purchase them.

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

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Shaun Jeffrey (left), executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association was happy to receive a gift of protective masks for food service workers from Keren Taylor-Hughes, CEO of Harvest Manitoba. The masks were donated to Harvest Manitoba by MedsUp.

A love letter from Harvest to all Manitobans

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Preview

A love letter from Harvest to all Manitobans

Harvest Manitoba 4 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

You may not have heard at the time, but earlier this year, as part of its landmark 35th anniversary, Winnipeg Harvest merged the Manitoba Association of Food Banks into the Harvest family and changed its name to Harvest Manitoba.

Now, the Harvest Manitoba network of food banks and agencies distributes food directly to hungry individuals and families through 350 locations across the province.  

Keren Taylor-Hughes, Harvest Manitoba chief executive officer, explained:

“Both organizations had the same objective — to feed hungry Manitobans. Our superpower is collecting, sorting, packing, and distributing food. Their strength is operating food banks in rural and remote locations — and together, we’re able to feed more Manitobans. It’s a true win-win-win for everyone.”

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

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