Winnipeg Harvest says this year's brutal winter has led to an urgent need for food donations, especially items like canned fruit, pasta, infant formula and foods high in protein.

The food bank has issued its top 10 list of items in highest demand, including peanut butter and canned fish and poultry.

Executive director David Northcott says the $200,000 in donations the food bank received in December ran out last month.

Northcott said the long, harsh winter Winnipeggers endured this year has made families pay more for transportation costs, which leaves less money for food and results in fewer food bank staples in stock.

"It sort of hits some of the food reserves that we've been able to pull in over the winter months," he said Monday.

"The impact of winter on a family's huge. And when it carries on and carries on and it gets really, really cold, it sort of files down that sense of spirit."

Winnipeg Harvest says its top 10 most wanted items are:

  • Canned fish and poultry — tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey, packed in water.
  • Canned fruit and vegetables, packed in their own juices.
  • Canned stew, chili or brown beans.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Whole-grain pasta or whole-wheat pasta.
  • Baby food and infant formula.
  • Rice — brown, converted or parboiled.
  • Canned spaghetti sauce or tomatoes.
  • Cereal, preferably high in fibre and not sugar-coated.
  • Canned soup, particularly lentil, pea or vegetable soups.

Winnipeg Harvest helps feed more than 60,000 Manitobans each month, nearly half of whom are children.

The food bank is also accepting monetary donations, noting that for every dollar received, it can distribute $20 worth of groceries.