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Bell Tower Community Café

Making Good Things Together

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Bell Tower is open

The health and safety of everyone involved in Bell Tower is of utmost importance. This includes all of our volunteers and everyone who comes to pick up food as a registered or walk in client. It is also important to us that we do what we can to ensure people are able to access food in a safe and healthy environment. At this point, Winnipeg Harvest is continuing to operate, while taking measures to protect against COVID 19 (including effecting handwashing and respiratory hygiene). Winnipeg Harvest has also advised food banks of some operational changes to make to ensure a safe and healthy environment. 

Bell Tower is coming up this Friday, March 20th and will be open with significant modifications to how we operate. We will only be open to assemble and hand out food hampers – to both registered and walk in clients. We will open our doors at 5PM and will be open to hand out hampers until 8PM. If necessary, we will limit the number of people entering the building. We hope this method eliminates lines and limits contact. 

We will only be handing out food hampers; there will be no meal, no rides home and no mini mart. 

In addition to our revised procedures, we will continue to maintain cleanliness as a top priority at Bell Tower. We strive to maintain a healthy and clean environment year-round. In response to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we are taking extra precautions at this time.

What we’re doing:

  • Enhancing our cleaning processes prior to our food delivery on Friday afternoon from Winnipeg Harvest. This includes the wiping and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as handles, handrails, restroom stall doors, and sinks, and tables and shelves to put food on;
  • Providing foam hand sanitizer at the Westminster entrance to the building and clean handwashing facilities in the basement;
  • Using gloves for all handling of food hampers and the food that goes into them; and
  • Taking our direction from global, federal, and local health officials such as the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and adjusting protocols when necessary.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update our practices as needed to reflect recommendations from the Government of Canada.

We recognise that there is much uncertainty at this time and since it is an evolving situation, we will be providing you with updates and more information as it becomes available. We encourage you to learn more using the information available through the Government of Canada Public Health Services.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Meaghan Pauls (meaghanpauls@belltowercommunitycafe.org).

In this time of uncertainty, may you find ways to take care of yourself and others, at a time of isolation, may you find ways to be hospitable, and in this time of much anxiety, may you feel peace.  Be safe.

Making Good Things Together in 2020

6 years ago, the Bell Tower Community Cafe opened its doors for the first time in Westminster Church at the corner of Maryland and Westminster. In our early days we created the mandate to “Make Good Things Together”, to serve a good cup of coffee, enjoy invigorating live music and give away food hampers from Winnipeg Harvest. We started by opening our doors to 20 families and individuals in the neighbourhood. And in those first few Bell TSix years ago, the Bell Tower Community Cafe opened its doors for the first time. We started by welcoming just 20 families and individuals in the neighbourhood. And at those first few Bell Towers we were unsure if we would even be able to serve a meal. But we were driven by our common goal: to be a place to meet people and build community. We were “Making Good Things Together.”

Since these early days, we have hosted 155 Bell Towers. That’s more than 10,000 food hampers. Over 1,500 crock pots of chilli, soup and meat balls. That’s 36 BBQs with 7,000 hot dogs and hamburgers. And that’s almost 3,000 rides home for guests with overflowing boxes of food. All of this is possible because of an amazing team of volunteers who collectively have put in over 12,000 hours volunteering! 

This is also made possible because of financial gifts from people like you. Each night the Bell Tower is open it costs $500 to provide things like coffee and tea, compostable dishes or BBQ supplies. Will you help support the Bell Tower for the next year? A gift of $25 can provide all the coffee for one evening of the Bell Tower. And a gift of $350 covers the cost of a summer BBQ night.

The Bell Tower is more than a food bank: we are a community. Every second Friday we meet to share a meal, connect with friends and meet new people. In the six years since we first opened our doors we have built a diverse community. Our strength lies in relationships. When we asked our community: “Why do you come to Bell Tower?” the number one reason was for the people. 

We come to meet new people, to feel understood, and to feel accepted.

As a community we are working to build a more food secure Winnipeg. Supporting families with food hampers from Winnipeg Harvest and creating an inclusive space to eat a free community meal are two ways we improve access to food.

In the last few years we have also been able to offer more choice at Bell Tower. We have established a low-cost mini mart, offering eggs, fresh fruit, canned protein and other healthy food items we rarely receive through Winnipeg Harvest. In the last year, the Manitoba Egg Farmers joined us as a community partner allowing us to sell eggs at a very affordable price. Eggs are flying off the table at the mini mart!

Together we are creating a more food-secure Winnipeg, but we need your help to continue opening our doors every other Friday night. Your donations help fill empty fridges, generate festive summer BBQs, help us serve a free and inviting community meal, and are an investment in an inclusive community. In order to run the next year of Bell Tower, we need to raise $10,000. Will you help us? 

To Donate to the Bell Tower Community Cafe:

  1. Make a donation online at:
    fundly.com/making-good-things-together-2020
  2. Mail cheques to:
    Bell Tower Community Cafe
    745 Westminster Avenue
    Winnipeg, MB R3G 1A5

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