Food Banker Spotlight – Maral Kiani Tari from Lethbridge Food Bank

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Maral Kiani Tari from Lethbridge Food Bank in Lethbridge, Alberta.

What is your role in food banking?
I am the Executive Director of the Lethbridge Food Bank.

Describe a typical day in one word.

What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
When I first moved to Lethbridge, I was unaware that 1 in 5 children in Lethbridge lives in poverty, the highest in all of Alberta. Having just been a new mom that statistic had a significant influence on my desire to help.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
During the fall of 2017, The Lethbridge Food Bank, in partnership with My City Care, began the Mindful Munchies program, providing students in need nutritious food items to help them succeed in the classroom. To date, 20 schools in our city have signed up to our lunch program. As of September 10, 2018, we have provided approximately 51,000 lunches. Preparation and delivery of the lunches are scheduled twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. Each distribution consists of two days’ worth of food. Lunches are prepared and packaged at the Lethbridge Food Bank and delivered by My City Care on Mondays and Wednesdays.

What is the greatest challenge in your current role?
Our greatest challenge currently is space and a fully equipped kitchen.

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada, what would it be?
That all organizations or individuals working in poverty reduction come together as one and address issues related to poverty, which in turn address hunger.

What talent would you most like to have?
Playing an instrument. I would love to be able to play the piano.

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t give up and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Amazing things will happen.

Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life.
My daughter and my nieces and nephews, because they love unconditionally and show no fear. They make friends with others in no time without conditions. They portray honesty and innocence. Society has forgotten how to live as if they are children.

What is your idea of happiness?
My happiness comes from having God at the centre of my life, followed by family. Happiness is found in the small moments spent with my family, knowing they are healthy and protected. We create our happiness, and even the littlest moments can be the most memorable and joyful part of our lives.

What is your motto?
The more “nos” you get, the more “yeses” are on the way. Patience is a virtue.

What’s something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I keep my plants alive by talking to them.

What’s your theme song?
Titanium by David Guetta.

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