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Group urges Winnipeg to not forget its most vulnerable during coronavirus crisis

Toilet paper is one of the necessities families living in poverty need during the pandemic.
Toilet paper is one of the necessities families living in poverty need during the pandemic. AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A community group helping some of Winnipeg’s most vulnerable in the inner city is asking for the public’s help with their important work.

Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre’s Diane Redsky told 680 CJOB her organization typically feeds upwards of 200 people on a daily basis — before the coronavirus hit.

Many of the families Ma Mawi supports, she said, are ill-prepared to deal with the current pandemic and need the help of donations and volunteers.

“Many of them rely on Ma Mawi Centre, and community organizations like ours, for their daily survival,” said Redsky.

“We can’t forget the people who don’t have money, don’t have access to get to a store, and still need to rely on these essential services.”

The call for volunteers, she said, is a way to continue to meet their needs, but with a social distancing plan in place to keep everyone safe.

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Ma Mawi put together and delivered 300 emergency kits — including food, baby supplies and basic needs, as well as a tip sheet from the Canadian Mental Health Association — on Thursday, and their supplies will only last so long, said Redsky.

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“We’re already identifying that baby formula and toilet paper are huge needs.

“We’re not encouraging people to run out and start interacting with each other. If you can do this in a safe way and help us out, we’re accepting donations at our 445 King Street entrance.

“There will be a table outside where you can put your donation safely. We’ll wipe it down and bring it in.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg ‘caremongering’ groups offer resources and help during coronavirus crisis

Ma Mawi is also looking for volunteer drivers to help with the distribution of the care packages, which are typically left at families’ doorsteps to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

“We would really, really appreciate Winnipeggers coming together,” said Redsky.

“We need your help in order to help the people who are most vulnerable.”

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Ma Mawi is just one of many local organizations struggling with donations and volunteers during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Winnipeg Harvest told Global News that it was also feeling the pinch, as its food bank relies on donations from people and stores, but with people stockpiling and stores not having a lot of extra stock, donations are at a low.

“We are now asking folks to donate funds to help us purchase food,” Harvest CEO Karen Taylor-Hughes said Wednesday.

“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.”

Click to play video 'Winnipeg resource guide aims to reach vulnerable people' Winnipeg resource guide aims to reach vulnerable people
Winnipeg resource guide aims to reach vulnerable people