Home Blog August 2016 The changing face of food banks

The changing face of food banks

The changing face of food banks
Every now and then, we hear people refer to “food banks” in a disparaging way.  We realize many people aren’t aware of the hope and support and dignity that they provide to hungry neighbours or the diversity of programs offered by the more than 3,000 organizations that operate food banks across the country.

The food is good
A common misconception is that food banks provide foods of low nutritional value and quality. Food banks in fact provide a wide variety of nutritious food and donors are increasingly aware of the importance of contributing good quality food.

40% of the food provided consists of fresh and other perishable foods. This includes items like milk, eggs, and both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.

Beyond food hampers

In addition to helping more than 850,000 people each and every month by providing nutritious food hampers and hot meals, a great many organizations in our network also offer an array of other services to help people. For example:

  • Community Kitchens are places where people unite by learning new recipes and cooking techniques and sharing the meals they’ve created together. One quarter of organizations that operate food banks — more than 500 across Canada — offer this type of program.
  • Community Gardens invite community members to participate in growing their own fresh veggies and fruit, offering a place to learn, share, and eat. Nearly one fifth of organizations with food banks also operate a community garden — nearly 350 in all; participation is often restricted by the limited land available to many organizations.
  • Children and youth programs help to break the cycle of dependence by teaching the next generation how to grow, preserve, and prepare their own nutritious food in a positive and supportive environment. Kid-targeted programming is hosted by nearly 250 food banks.The number of food banks involved in these activities, as well as other types of education and training programs, child care, and emergency shelter, is impressive — and they are making a difference in people’s lives.
Look to the future

At the same time as we are dedicating ourselves to helping people today, the food bank community is also working to create a Canada without hunger tomorrow.

The HungerCount report, produced each year, is the most widely-read report on food insecurity and hunger in Canada. In the most recent federal budget, several HungerCount recommendations were put into action: the new Canada Child Benefit, increased investment in affordable housing, and strengthened pensions for our vulnerable seniors all mirror recommendations made by Food Banks Canada in recent editions.

Working together

The food bank community has achieved some impressive accomplishments, helping nearly two million people each year by providing, not only food and hot meals, but also social services, skills to increase self-sufficiency, a sense of community, and a healthy serving of dignity and respect to everyone who visits. 

We are encouraged by the diverse work of all types of organizations — knowing that we are truly making a difference for people in need. 

Don’t miss!

Hunger Facts



of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)