Frequently Asked Questions
When do you take donations?
From Thanksgiving weekend to May Long Weekend, EBN accepts donations on Tuesdays, *Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. *On the third Wednesday of each month, we accept a large shipment of food from Winnipeg Harvest and are unable to accept donations until all the food is sorted and dispersed.
We do not accept donations on Thursdays. Thursday is the food bank day at EBN. After the May Long Weekend, EBN is open six days a week, our donation hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. however we still do not accept donations on Thursday as it remains food bank day. We have posted signs throughout the facility clearly stating times and days for donation drop-offs in addition we have the days listed on our website and on our telephone voicemail message. We respect the privacy of our community members and preserve their dignity by ensuring their confidentiality. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to food banks usage despite the high cost of food and the number of working people with low income jobs, people who are disabled, seniors on a fixed income or are single parents struggling to make it on their own.
Please remember we do not take donations on Thursdays or every 3rd Wednesday of the month - if you see a large truck with the Winnipeg Harvest logo parked on the loading pad we are receiving our monthly allotment of food from Harvest so please come back on Friday or Saturday, or the following Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at that time we would be grateful to receive your generous donation.
Occasionally during the summer months, we may have to close the receiving area to donations due to health and safety concerns by the sheer volume of donations. It may take a day or two of work for our staff and volunteers to work through the backlog. These times will be posted on Facebook and at the receiving door.
If in doubt, call 204-642-9736 to confirm!
Why do you give food to people who work or go to Bingo, drink, gamble or smoke cigarettes?
EBN exists to help community members when they are faced with a difficult situation in their lives. When a person picks up the phone and calls EBN Program Coordinator Elaine Gibbs it is usually because they desperately require food assistance. EBN recognizes it is becoming more and more of a challenge for community members to be able to pay the bills and eat. Many of our clients are single parents, seasonal and part time employees, unemployed people, and people living with chronic illnesses, disabled persons and seniors.
It takes courage to pick up the telephone and explain to a stranger you need help. We have seen many frightened people in distress because they never imagined they would need to use a food bank. We gently tell people there is no shame in coming to EBN we give them more than food, we give them hope and encouragement. On occasion we receive telephone calls from concerned members of the community who will tell us who smokes, plays the slots, drinks at a hotel, bought a computer or who has a flat screen television. The concerned caller does not know if there are children in the home, or if the person is simply having a rare night out, or feeding an addiction, or is suffering from depression. Addictions and depression are considered a disability. Using a food bank does not mean people must stay home and stare at the four walls.
Why does EBN have 12 paid staff when you have several volunteers?
EBN has an incredible pool of volunteers, dedicated, loyal and hardworking; the friendliest and most entertaining group of people you’d ever have the good fortune to meet. They come from all walks of life and travelled interesting paths to arrive at EBN. But, they enjoy their retired lives; they have grandchildren, travel plans, hobbies, and other volunteer opportunities. A number of our volunteers work full-time jobs; they volunteer their time whenever they have spare time. At Christmas we have many people who take personal time off work to deliver hampers, organize and sort food and toys.
EBN staff members are an exceptional group of people. Each one has extensive life and professional experience; it’s a common mistake for people to assume anyone can work at EBN. In reality fit and experience is vital. For a person to work at EBN they have be compassionate, passionate, generous with their time and respect the privacy of our clients. EBN is more than a gently used store, we need staff to run programs, operate the food bank, clean or fix furniture, clean the building, pick up donations, deliver furniture, fix our computers, ensure the building is operating at maximum capacity, organize donations, manage the store, ensure our bills are paid, cook in our cafe and to write the proposals and manage it all.
Why do you charge so much for second-hand items in Respun Threads?
We don’t. It’s become a common complaint that we charge much more than other Thrift stores. But, in reality we price items lower than other gently used stores despite the amount of work it takes to place the item on the shelves. Once a donation comes through the backdoor it is immediately sorted and placed in a box with a label such as; giftware, housewares, or further sorted by men, women’s, children seasonal wear. Each item is carefully examined for cracks or dirt, or if its clothing our volunteers check for rips, discoloration or style and smell. If it can’t be fixed the item is recycled for other uses. When the item passes initial inspection it will be placed in a box according to brand, style and how gently it’s been worn by the previous owner. We have a number of “new” clothing items at times with the original price tag still attached and we discount the item by 70 percent.
Giftware and jewelry is carefully examined by volunteers, cleaned and priced according to various websites at usually 50 percent of the recommended price listed. We enjoy satisfied customers; but, if you have a concern regarding an item you feel should be listed at a lower price look for the Executive Director.
Why don't you take all donations?
We don’t take donations that are stained, covered with pet hair, ripped, torn or have certain aromas such as mold or mildew. Especially during the summer months we often don’t have the time or the volunteers to fix or clean very dirty or broken items. Our customers obviously want items of quality or recent styles that they can wear or give to someone. Our staff or volunteers clean the sofas, chairs, repair table tops and ensure all furniture is in good condition when it is placed in Respun Threads. Items are not simply taken off the truck and put on the store floor. There is a process once a donation comes into the back area of the building. We don’t take large items such as refrigerators, large heavy televisions, stoves, washers, dryers, simply because we don’t have the storage space. However, our clients may need these items so call us at 204-642-9736 we just may have someone in need. The common rule of thumb would be to think as you are making a donation would you as a consumer want to purchase the item if you saw it on the shelves at EBN.
If EBN is so desperate for food why do you give food away to schools, summer camps, daycare centres, and other community groups?
We not only help individuals in need but we also assist other community groups such as:Schools, Day Care Centers, Congregate Meal Programs in Gimli, Winnipeg Beach and Inwood, Seniors Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center and if available we contribute food or materials for special events in the community by providing them with surplus food from the Distribution Hub.