CBC Radio's annual Harvesting Hope radiothon raised more than $105,000 on Friday for Winnipeg Harvest, Manitoba's largest food bank.

By the time the day-long radio event ended at 6 p.m., it raised at least $105,254 for Harvest. Last year the radiothon raised  $127,000.

Winnipegger Shelley Sauve is grateful.

She lost her apartment last summer after a rent increase that came at the same time as her worker's compensation expired. She fell and suffered a brain injury on the job a year ago.

Harvesting Hope


While the radiothon ended on Friday evening, you can still donate:

  • Online: Donate now to Winnipeg Harvest.
  • Mail: Send a cheque, made out to Winnipeg Harvest with the notation "CBC," to the following address:  Winnipeg Harvest, 1085 Winnipeg Ave, Winnipeg R3E 0S2

"I can't cope anymore," she said. "My head hurts so much. I get dizzy."

Sauve has slowly begun working again but doesn't make enough money. She said that forces her to rely on help from others, something she never thought would happen.  "I grew up in a middle class home."

Harvest's director of development, Kate Brenner, says 64,000 people use Winnipeg Harvest every month. Half are children, and most come from double-income homes but are below the poverty line.

She said even a dollar donation can go a long way.

"We can actually distribute, with that dollar, $20 worth of food," she said.

The shelves at Winnipeg Harvest are emptier than usual so far this month. Harvest is in desperate need of items on its Top 10 Wanted Food Items list, including canned meat and vegetables, peanut butter, and baby food.

Food bank use climbs

Winnipeg Harvest executive director David Northcott is distressed the number of food bank users remains stubbornly high.

Despite some economic recovery in the province, the number of people relying on the food bank has gone up 14 per cent in the past year.

"And that's the biggest in Canada, so it's quite distressing," Northcott said.

"It's stubbornly high especially in this province. It's been like that for the better part of seven or eight years, you know, where the kids are just disproportionately represented at food banks.

"Oddly the prairies have all had the same, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, all have the same kind of statistic." 

Shelley Sauve said the cycle of giving starts at her home, thanks to Winnipeg Harvest.

"We get our hamper from Harvest and we look through it, and if we know there is anything we can't use we donate it to Siloam," she said.