Winnipeg Harvest and food programs feeling pinch from coronavirus

COVID-19: Winnipeg Food Banks
Some Winnipeg food banks say they're having a difficult time securing food donations and volunteers as the city grapples with the COVID-19 virus.

As concerns about COVID-19 increase across Manitoba, Winnipeg Harvest is seeing its supply of food drop.

The food bank relies on donations from people and stores, but with people stockpiling and stores not having a lot of extra stock, the organization is feeling the pinch.

READ MORE: Grocery stores in Winnipeg create shopping hours for people susceptible to COVID-19

“This has never happened to Winnipeg Harvest,” CEO Karen Taylor-Hughes said.

“Because there’s so much buying going on in grocery stores, we’re having a hard time getting donations.”

Winnipeg Harvest also supplies food to nearly 100 other food bank programs across the city.

Taylor-Hughes said the number of people who will be relying on their services is only going to increase with some people losing their jobs.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are now asking folks to donate funds to help us purchase food. And we’re working with all the retailers who are reaching out to us and asking what our needs are so we can ensure that we keep the flow of food going.”

Economic impact on Manitoba restaurants
Economic impact on Manitoba restaurants

Winnipeg Harvest is in need of healthy volunteers and money to be able to purchase food for the programs.

One of the organizations that helps supply food to the community is the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg.

The organization supplies about 130,000 snacks and meals each year.

Right now it is unable to keep its programming going.

“We really feel like both hands are tied behind our backs. On one hand, our core business is working with kids and providing them with things they might not necessarily have. Food is certainly a significant part of that and we don’t want to see this virus spread,” the organization’s president and CEO Ron Brown said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’ve been doing this for 43 years and the demand for programs like ours is definitely high.”

How to support local businesses through COVID-19 pandemic
How to support local businesses through COVID-19 pandemic