Food Banker Spotlight – Lori McRitchie of Airdrie Food Bank

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Lori McRitchie, Executive Director of Airdrie Food Bank in Airdrie, AB.


What is your role in food banking?
I wear a few different hats! I am the Executive Director of the Airdrie Food Bank, Chair of Food Banks Alberta and I sit as an Alberta representative on Food Banks Canada Member Council.

Describe a typical day in one word.

What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I was asked!!! I was running a breakfast program at a local elementary school while I was teaching there (grade 1 and 2 early literacy). The City of Airdrie approached me with the idea of merging the breakfast program (had a director, me, but no board) and the food bank who had a board but no director. It was a huge leap of faith for me as I knew nothing about running a Not For Profit but I have been here 12 years and have not looked back!

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
Bringing the community together to support, fund, and build our new food bank. The Airdrie Community have taken the role of “owning their responsibility in being Neighbors who help Neighbors” and that is a blessing to all who live here.

What is your greatest challenge in your current role?
The growing pains that we have been through in moving from being a very small grass-roots agency to becoming a midsized food bank with expanded programming has come with challenges. These shifts have been difficult for staff and volunteers. We have made it a priority that though we are moving to a more “business like” model we want to maintain the heart of a small agency.

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
A sustainable, structured transportation system that would move food around the country to where it is needed most and hearts that are open to “the best for all!”

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to spend time learning to dance well. I love music and like to move!

If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
When opportunity comes, go for it! You will never know what you are capable of unless you try!

Who are your heroes?  Fictional or real life
My dad who recently received the Legion of Honor Medal from France for his service at D-Day! He is a great man and the best dad ever! Also Samwise (Sam) Gamgee, Frodo the Hobbits best friend. He is wise and loyal and the kind of friend you would want to be!

What is your idea of happiness?
Spending time and sharing food and life with family and friends. Also I am most happy when I am singing!

What is your motto?
As my staff would tell you “always err on the side of grace”

Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I skipped grade 4!

Your theme song?
Three Little Birds by Bob Marley