Volunteers needed at Harvest Manitoba
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/10/2021 (582 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
Much bigger than you thought
Be prepared to be amazed. You’re part of a mind-blowing operation. In a typical year Harvest collects and distributes 11 million pounds of food. When you consider that almost every bite of that is donated and that most of the people donating are not going hungry, you might just conclude that, outside of sandbagging, Harvest could very well be one of the most significant statements of community values in our province.
In the year before COVID-19, it took about 200,000 volunteer hours to handle the 11 million pounds of food Manitobans donated to feed our neighbours. During lockdown and various waves of COVID-19 in 2020, volunteer hours fell to around 69,000 and we almost had to close our doors for the first time in history.
November and December are expected to be our busiest months this year. Food prices are soaring and are expected to increase five per cent by December. This means more Manitoba families to feed now and during the holidays. Volunteers are critically needed — and it’s easy to get started.
Ways to volunteer
There are two tried-and-true ways to start your Harvest Volunteer journey:
1) Click or mouse over ‘Ways to Give’ at the top of the HarvestManitoba.ca home page. The ‘Volunteer’ link is right there.
2) On that same page, you can also schedule a visit for your company or community Group — and a team-building experience with education and impact can be customized for you.
Most Harvest volunteers come in as individuals, but you can come as two buddies, a couple or students looking for a community service experience.
We can safely accommodate groups of 25 at a time, so it’s common for families, neighbours and community groups like the Scouts to come in together.
Corporate volunteering is also welcome. Human resources managers and company owners can bring staff down for ‘Harvest days’ because building shared values outside the office strengthens the bonds inside the office. In a world of Zoom meetings, volunteering in person with your co-workers can be more meaningful than ever.
Very few volunteers walk into Harvest as fully trained warehouse workers, drivers or phone managers — but rest assured, after 35 years Harvest knows how to train volunteers. No experience is needed. You can succeed here. Having fun, feeding Manitobans and changing lives.
Walking the walk
When Harvest says ‘We are a community of Harvest Stars’, it’s the reality of who and what we are.
A community of 1.4 million Manitobans donates 11 million pounds of food. To collect, sort, pack and deliver that food takes 200,000 hours of volunteer power…
Being on the Harvest crew doing something positive means something.
To find out more about the benefits, COVID-19 requirements and opportunities of becoming a Harvest volunteer, please visit: HarvestManitoba.ca/volunteer
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