Food Banks Canada calls businesses to join the Shelve Hunger Challenge

For many people in Canada, having access to enough food to mitigate hunger is a serious challenge for a number of reasons – from transportation barriers to other factors, such as poverty and low income.

Food Banks Canada research shows that an estimated 7 million Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and 2022, with 23 per cent reporting they were eating less “than they think they should” because there wasn’t enough money for food.

Especially in rural areas – called food deserts, where there is a lack of food retailers – many individuals and families have limited access to a variety of affordable foods and must rely on more expensive food types available at gas stations or convenience stores.

The unavailability of cooking equipment and kitchen utensils in some food-insecure households, as well as inadequate access to kitchen space and electricity, are also limitations that some of us take for granted in our everyday food preparation.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to affect food insecurity and pose a significant challenge for people trying to meet their day-to-day expenses, anyone can find themselves lacking regular access to food depending on their financial situation, their geography, and more.


Food Banks Canada works to provide relief from hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network in Canada. With food bank visits soaring across the country to the highest they have ever been, we have never needed your help more.

To raise funds and increase awareness of what it could be like to face restricted food choices, Food Banks Canada is calling businesses across the country to come together and help ‘shelve hunger’ by taking part in the Shelve Hunger Challenge. 

The Shelve Hunger Challenge is a five-day corporate fundraising and employee engagement program that can be done while working from the office or remotely. The idea is to challenge yourself by building your lunch using only shelf-stable food items.

Along with your colleagues, you will foster an awareness of food insecurity, as you also fundraise to help fill plates for those who need it most.

“With this activity, we challenge you to open up your pantries and think about your lunch choices through a lens of restricted food choices, as you limit the type of food you can use in your meal preparation,” Erin Filey-Wronecki, Chief Development and Partnerships Officer at Food Banks Canada said. “Not only does our new Shelve Hunger Challenge raise funds for food banks across the country, but it is also a rewarding way to engage employees in a meaningful cause and provide them with an opportunity to make a profound impact in local communities.”


The Shelve Hunger Challenge activity is intended to provide insight and awareness of the restricted food choices faced by many Canadians, because of limited access to food due to financial constraints, geography or mobility challenges .

This is only one aspect of the difficult decisions that someone with limited access to food would have to make each day. The Shelve Hunger Challenge is not meant to replicate all the difficult choices that food restricted and food insecure people face on a daily basis.

To make the Shelve Hunger Challenge activity broadly accessible for the majority of participants, the food type permitted as part of this challenge is all shelf-stable/pantry items. In addition, the difficulty of this challenge extends beyond your food choices.

You can help by fundraising through the Shelve Hunger Challenge!

Some of the easiest and quickest types of food to transport and stock for food banks are shelf-stable items.

But did you know that over 40 per cent of all the food that is distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh?