A bite of information | Blog
It’s More Than A Hamper Or A Meal, It’s Inclusion
The face of the food bank is anyone, anywhere, so how do we reach everyone?
Calgary is a city of a million-plus people with an expanse of quadrants and communities. And within every neighborhood, there is someone in need. In an effort to create a hunger-free community, we must ensure that Food Hampers are accessible for families and individuals in various neighborhoods.
Every week clients pick-up pre-arranged hampers at one of 17 different points in the city, each filled with seven days’ worth of fresh and nutritious food, for every member of the family. But this is more than just a hamper or a meal – it is a week’s worth of inclusion. It means their children are not singled out and have a lunch to take to school every day. Family time can be around the table as there is dinner every evening. There are even snacks for their guests on game night.
“The food bank is very helpful for us low income families because the money that is allocated for food is going to be used in other needs like clothing, especially. It’s a good thing that there are food bank depots for pick up so that we will not be traveling that far going to the main depot.” – Calgary Food Bank Client
Understanding that 30% of our clients are working, some at multiple jobs, we strive to make it as convenient as possible to access food support in a critical time of need. Therefore, it was important to reduce the time to access services. On average, each client that came to these satellite locations saved 19 km, for a total of 118,874 kms in travel distance saved, equating to 2,378 hours in saved time. This means clients with diverse needs from a variety of social services are able to utilize their time, and travel expenses, more efficiently.
“I was very pleased with going to see someone I already know, and who is familiar with my situation. It felt very personal, and I didn’t have to explain my already painful situation. It felt very dignified.” – Calgary Food Bank Client
Collaborations to create food hubs within service agencies also began this year. We created and delivered healthy hampers to agencies and clients for pick-up in their own community. Valuable time can now be focused on the other resources at the agency.
referrals from agencies
Calls in a year
referrals to other agencies
Providing community support and ensuring that everyone receives relevant information about the programs and services available to help them address the root causes of their food insecurity is a fundamental part of our process. This year, 73% of the clients arriving at the food bank were unaware of support available and 13,317 referrals were given to connect clients with the social agencies.
Thanks to the volunteers and agencies throughout the city, we are proud to be helping build people’s resiliency.