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Winnipeg Harvest scores along with Sidney Crosby

MTS Centre fans celebrate Canada's gold medal in men's ice hockey
Photo Credit: John Vogan

Sidney Crosby’s overtime and gold medal winning goal February 28, 2010 against the United States sent Canadians into a cheering frenzy, but members of Winnipeg Harvest were cheering long before that.

The local food bank was the recipient of $1 from every $5 ticket sold to hockey fans attending the MTS Centre to watch the men’s ice hockey final, which Canada won 3-2.

“It was an initiative of True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd (TNSEL),” said Chris Albi, spokesperson for Winnipeg Harvest.

“Winnipeg Harvest has been the beneficiary of other such projects with TNSEL in the past and is truly grateful for the support we have received from TNSEL to date. Harvest hopes it can continue to receive this kind of support on other like projects in the future.”

An estimated 4,300 people attended the event at the MTS Centre and took to the streets after the game to celebrate, and some were even able to keep Winnipeg Harvest in mind.

“I mean, during overtime I don’t think anybody was really thinking about Winnipeg Harvest,” said Michaela Hopfner, a student at the University of Manitoba.

“But I was talking to some friends about where to watch the game, and we chose the MTS Centre because we thought I would be fun to be with a bunch of people, and help them out at the same time.”

Harvest distributes food to over 40,000 people each month, and also distributed 9.8-million pounds of food to over 320 member agencies across Manitoba, including food banks, soup kitchens, youth programs, and drop-in centres.

But in the March 2009 Hunger Count, which outlined hunger and food bank use in Canada, 28 per cent of food banks lack adequate funding and 36 per cent were forced to give out less food than usual, which is usually enough food for two to three days.

“The economic downtown in Canada has meant an increase in the clients that Winnipeg Harvest shares food with. The downturn resulted in an 18.4 per cent increase in the use of Food banks across Manitoba between March of 2008 and March of 2009,” said Albi.

Albi also noted that a single dollar goes a long way for Winnipeg Harvest, and the food bank relies on many other programs as well.

“For every one-dollar donation, Harvest is able to leverage that into $20 worth of food for those who need it,” said Albi

“Harvest is involved with several events that help with our mission. Operation Donation (in conjunction with the Manitoba Teachers’ Society), the annual Empty Bowls Gala and the annual Golf Tournament (Swinging for Supper) are Winnipeg Harvest events that raise a great deal of food and money for Harvest to help try to meet the needs for its clientele.”

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Mitchell Clinton

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