Food Banker Spotlight – Celina Symmonds, Medicine Hat and District Food Bank

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Celina Symmonds from Medicine Hat and District Food Bank in Medicine Hat, AB.

What is your role in food banking?
I am the Executive Director of the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank. 

Describe a typical day in one word.

What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I believe that poverty reduction begins with a community that comes together around food! 

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
Along with an AMAZING team, we created and implemented The Food First Culinary Experience program which has allowed our food bank participants to participate in programming including financial literacy, cooking lessons and ongoing support services, as well they each receive crock pot, deep freeze and all other needed cooking items. 

What is the greatest challenge in your current role?
Fundraising and capacity building, as the food bank gets bigger and needs more resources including a change in services offered it gets more difficult to deliver the needed programming and ongoing support to our team. 

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
The creation of spaces that would allow us to teach people and create community. The stigma attached to the food bank creates a division between segments of the community and folks who are at different income levels. The truth is, food security and hunger are all of our responsibility and is about more than just income it is about the lack of community. 

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be more artistic. 

If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self not to worry so much about what other people think, to fiercely believe in herself and not let others decide what is true! 

Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life
My parents – my mom, my stepdad, my dad and my stepmom are my heroes. They have made me the person I am! I also see every staff member and volunteer as a hero they give so much of themselves looking for nothing in return. 

What is your idea of happiness?
I think happiness is a choice we make every day. Every day we choose how to react to hard things and our reaction decides our level of happiness. 

What is your motto?
I don’t know about my motto however my favourite saying is by Margaret Mead: “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. 

Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I am a grandma and it is the best job I have ever had! 

Your theme song?
Homecoming Queen by Kelsea Ballerini.

Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at