Manitoba's Poverty Report Card from Food Banks Canada showcases a scary truth.

Manitoba was handed a D- rating, and in the report says the province's poverty rate is 11.5 per cent slightly above the national average of 9.9 per cent.

Major Brenda Hammond from Portage la Prairie's Salvation Army says it's discouraging to see, but it isn't surprising.

She says that helping people who are struggling should be a priority for everyone.

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"As we go forward, we definitely need to support the food bank. I mean, certainly, right now, we could really use the help," Hammond continues. "But also, we need to be much more careful about how we spend our money when we go to the grocery store. We need to make careful choices to stretch our dollar."

Hammond notes that the demand for the community food bank has increased lately.

"It's consistently high. It costs a lot of money to feed people, and we want to be stable. We want to be reliable. That's our goal: when people need help, we will be there for them."

file photoMajor Brenda Hammond from Portage la Prairie's Salvation Army.

She says the Salvation Army is hopeful that those who can afford to donate will make an effort as more and more people come asking for help.

"The good stock-up from Christmas is gone, and our cupboards look pretty bare. What's happening is people have always been able to make ends meet because they are good at it. They no longer can make ends meet. And now the money doesn't go as far."

If you need help providing for your family, Hammond encourages you to call the food bank.

"We have cooking groups that meet every month. We cook once a month, and they take home five meals for your whole family."

The top issues for residents across the province, according to the Food Banks Canada report, include reducing the cost of food, strengthening health care, reducing the cost of utilities, reviewing upper tax brackets for wealth redistribution, and providing better support for people with mental health or addiction challenges.