Manitoba Daily

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Harvest Manitoba is looking for volunteers as the number of food bank user rises

Harvest Manitoba is looking for volunteers as the number of new food bank users rise.

Key takeaways:

  • At Harvest Manitoba’s Winnipeg warehouse, 100 volunteers are needed every day, but only around 60 are available.
  • According to Vallejo-Tumlos, the food bank network’s volunteer base dropped when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.

The organization that feeds 80,000 Manitobans a month is concerned that it will not meet the expectations of an increasing number of food bank users due to a lack of volunteers.

Harvest Manitoba needs 100 volunteers every day at its Winnipeg warehouse but only has about 60.

“We need call center employees in particular throughout the winter,” said Snookie Vallejo-Tumlos, Harvest’s volunteer supervisor.

“They can offer to drive a truck or simply labor in a warehouse as a volunteer. [Volunteers] can serve as receptionists. We have certain administrative tasks to complete, “she stated. “It all depends on their abilities and capabilities,” says the narrator.

Also read: Canada’s job market exceeds estimates, quadrupling growth

When the COVID-19 epidemic hit, the food bank network’s volunteer base shrank, according to Vallejo-Tumlos. Some have returned, especially since Harvest made vaccinations mandatory for all volunteers in October.

However, the numbers have yet to recover to their previous levels.

The warehouse organizes approximately five million kilograms (11 million pounds) of food each year and distributes it to 325 different food banks and other organizations across the province.

Harvest reports that the number of people signing up to utilize the food bank has increased for the first time in recent months.

It now requires the return of volunteers from locations such as schools, clubs, and corporations.

Dee dela Cruz volunteers alongside her coworkers at PayWorks, which allows its employees to give back to their communities on specific days.

“I’ve always been fortunate to have food on the table and a roof over my head, and I realize that others go through tough times for a variety of reasons,” she explained.

Margo Jesso, Harvest volunteer co-ordinator, first came to the organization as someone who needed the food bank after fleeing an abusive relationship a few years ago.

Volunteers needed at Harvest Manitoba as new food bank users rises
Volunteers needed at Harvest Manitoba as new food bank users rises. Image from CBC

“I happened to live close to Harvest, and there weren’t many other options for volunteers. I also used Harvest’s services because I was receiving… [employment income support]; therefore I chose to volunteer here, “she stated

Jesso has recently been hired as a member of the team.

“It’s the happiest, positive place I’ve ever seen.”

Many of the volunteers and staff, according to Jesso, are previous or present food bank clients who are now giving back to the organization that helped them.

It also allows students to develop abilities, whether it’s through studying English or socializing with new people.

“We all come from different walks of life and have different reasons for why we’re struggling in life,” she explained.

Volunteers also have the opportunity to form bonds with the people they are assisting.

Tanvir Alam, who has been going to the Grace Christian Church food bank for years, is one of them.

He is deaf and uses his phone to communicate with volunteers.

“About four years ago, I lost my work. COVID 19 is also unemployed this year. “In a text interview with CBC, Alam wrote.

He has now begun teaching sign language to volunteers.

He wrote, “I am inspired they are studying sign language.” “Words are simple to teach children. Food, bread, and meat are examples.”

Source: CBC News

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