• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

Food For the Hungry

Because So Much Is Riding On Your Food For the Hungry

Bear Clan food bank feeding hundreds of Winnipeggers in need daily – Winnipeg

Increasing inflation rates and skyrocketing food prices are making it difficult for some people to make ends meet, which is driving the demand for help from food banks.

The Bear Clan Patrol is most known for walking the streets and helping out community members in need. However, these days that help has extended to its Selkirk Avenue food bank.

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“We’re feeding 600 to 700 people daily,” said Bear Clan’s interim director, Kevin Walker.

“I think without that resource in place, it’s going to a lot put a lot of pressure on the community.”

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It’s that added pressure the group is trying to help alleviate. The food bank runs solely on donations, mainly from large retailers like Costco, Co-Op and IGA. The group picks up all donations, sorts them, and hands them out daily to those in need.

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“People will come in, line up out front and they’ll get the the food barrier free. No identification required,”  board chair Brian Chrupalo said.

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The food bank grew from a hamper program that served roughly 400 people each week and was funded by the federal government. Chrupalo said that money ran dry but the dire need for help didn’t.

Now the food bank is feeding hundreds of people every day Monday through Friday.

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“Prices are going up. The price of gas is going up. So people’s options for what they’re going to purchase with their budget, whether it’s limited or not, is seeing the stress,” Chrupalo said.

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“A lot of people have previously told us that if we weren’t here, they would either be stealing food or jumping in a dumpster and … there’s no dignity in that.”

Walker said they have seen how hunger leads to desperation for many in the community and it can often lead to criminal activity. He noted a recent interaction Clan members had with a man during their foot patrols.

“We approached a young gentleman that was obviously hungry, looking for food. We were able to help him out and at the end of the conversation, he said, ‘Thank you very much. I was about to rob a 7-Eleven,’” he said.

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“So it’s making a difference when you’re out there. Desperate times, desperate measures.”

The group not only hands out food through its donation den but the team carries water, sandwiches and even sunscreen with them during their foot patrols to help those within the community who appear in need.

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“We always take food donations like canned goods, packaged goods, granolas, individually packaged items, things like that, sunscreen, bug screen, anything that you think that can be used on the street,” he said. “(Things) that not too many people have access to and that we take for granted.”

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While the food bank relies solely on donations it still costs the organization roughly $225,000 a year to keep it up and running.

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“The price of gas going up, vehicle repairs, our salaries that we have for the people that are working here,” Chrupalo said. “Plus the rent, all of those bills… it quickly piles up. You wouldn’t think, but it costs a lot, $225,000 a year, to give away free food. That’s a lot of money for a small organization.”

It’s a resource the group knows desperately needs to continue within the community. The Bear Clan is always looking for more donations, whether it’s cash that can be used to purchase goods, food (particularly fresh fruits and vegetables), or sunscreen, bug spray and clothes.


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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