Exchange District BIZ hosts Peanut Butter Drive

By Aislinn Hicks

Della Herrera, executive director at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre accepts donation of 692 pounds of peanut butter from Exchange District BIZ on Dec. 5, 2017. /AISLINN HICKS


A community effort made up of participating businesses brought in 692 pounds (314 kilos) of Peanut Butter to the Exchange District BIZ and was donated to the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg (AHWC).


“They’re always short on peanut butter at homeless shelters in Winnipeg,” said Karen Kornelsen, manager of marketing, communications and events at the Exchange District BIZ. “And it’s just really great because it’s packed full of protein so it can give someone a lot of nutrients.”


The drive ran from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4 and people were able to drop off any size, brand or type of nut butter at a participating business or location.


“Food insecurity is often a situation that many homeless individuals face within our community,” said executive director of the AHWC Della Herrera, in a press release.


The AHWC has 11 programs including: a clinic, a men’s healthy living program, a head start program, a support system for people who have lived through residential schools, and five housing and housing support programs.


“The most important thing for people living on the street is housing,” said Paula Hendrickson, director of services at the AHWC. “We just need to get people housed.”


Programs of the AHWC like ‘Doorways’, ‘Ni-Apin’ and the ‘A Place to Call Home’ program all address the issue of things like chronic homelessness at the root by providing a housing first solution.


Hendrickson said in an interview that people who use their housing program don’t have much to spend on groceries, most of them are on a tight budget. And giving people protein can be expensive, so having stuff like peanut butter can provide a lot of protein for a fraction of the cost.


“Within our program when people come in it’s something that we have readily available that we can give people to eat,” said Hendrickson.


Hendrickson also said a big need for people on the streets is warm winter coats that are in good condition. She added another need for people on the streets is hygiene products.


“Just because somebody’s on the street doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to something clean and nice,” said Hendrickson.


This year’s peanut butter drive was a first for the Exchange District BIZ but David Pensato, executive director of the Exchange District BIZ said in a press release there’s a potential to “build on it in future years.”