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The Reality of Poverty
Between 2008 and 2014 Food Bank usage in Manitoba increased by 50.5%. During that same time period Oak Table Inc. saw it's daily attendance multiply three-fold. Hunger is a persistent problem in our country and in our city. Many of us think about the poor at Christmastime when toy and food drives are most prevalent; but hunger is something that is experienced by 850,000 Canadians each month. According to a 2012 study by the Canadian Health institute, 4 million Canadians experienced some level of food insecurity. The rate of poverty in Canada is among the highest of all industrialized nations.
Who are the homeless?
We see construction workers, artists, limo drivers, teachers, nurses, and seniors at Oak table inc.; you likely envision these people as volunteers, but these are also some of the people who are guests of Oak Table. They may have experienced a mid or late life job loss, a relationship breakdown, abuse or addiction or mental illness. They may be on disability or seniors whose income doesn't  stretch to cover their expenses each month.
Where Oak Table comes in
Poverty is a downward spiral ......1 in 10 families cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. People we see each day often are required to make the choice between paying their rent and buying food.  For some, soup kitchens are the only security between them and homelessness as more and more affordable housing turns into upscale condominiums. They depend on us not only for a nourishing meal, but shoes, jackets, clean socks and underwear, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, and the like.  Some come for conversation, or to join a friend in a game of scrabble. Others need a place to get out of the heat or cold. All can use a friendly "hello" and be greeted by name.

Every night

in Winnipeg

350 people are staying in a Winnipeg homeless shelter; 700-1000 are staying in single occupancy hotels; and 1400 people are "couch-surfing" in the houses of others.

  • Less than 6 months - 15,1%
  • 6 months to 2 years - 36.9%
  • 5 to 10 years - 13.2%
  • More than 10 years - 10%

Learn More Here

The links below will take you to some excellent resources on identifying and addressing the issues related to Poverty in Our City.


HungerCount 2014

In a country as wealthy as Canada, close to a million people need food banks just to make ends meet each month. Why have we not seen any significant change to this situation after so many years, and after so much has been written about hunger? HungerCount 2014 uncovers the hard data on food bank use, tells the story behind the numbers, and digs deep to explore the root causes of hunger in our country. It then provides our recommendations to bring about real and lasting change. (2014)

The Plan to End Homelessness

Together, the United Way and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council consulted with many Winnipeggers who have a stake in ending homelessness: from a Council of Elders to the non-profit service providers who work daily to meet the needs of people on the street; from government policymakers to the private sector. READ ABOUT their findings and recommendations. (2014)

Let's End Homelessness: Executive Summary of Plan to End Homelessness

Together, the United Way and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council consulted with many Winnipeggers who have a stake in ending homelessness: from a Council of Elders to the non-profit service providers who work daily to meet the needs of people on the street; from government policymakers to the private sector. READ ABOUT their findings and recommendations. (2014)

The CIty that Ended Hunger

“In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life’s essentials? Does it exist anywhere?” Yes it does! READ ABOUT a city in Brazil that recruited local farmers to help end hunger. (2009)

Winnipeg Homelessness Fact Sheet

A one page Fact Sheet, this University of Winnipeg publication (with references) provides a quick introduction to the realities of homelessness and poverty in our city. (2009)