Community Liaison | Blog
At the Calgary Food Bank, we offer nutritious food hampers that are packed with a variety of foods and last for 7-10 days. Through our Emergency Food Hamper Program, we serve over 800 people each day, striving to meet Canada’s Food Guide with each hamper distributed. We work closely with a dietitian and a team of volunteers who frequently evaluate hampers distributed out of our main warehouse and out of our satellite locations to ensure that they are healthy and can meet a range of dietary needs. On average, our emergency food hampers contain 16% whole grains, 26% whole grains, 28% fruits and vegetables, and 30% is categorized as ‘other,’ which includes items like baking supplies, white bread and pasta, or snack foods.
We also have specific hampers available for those with celiac disease and with chronic kidney disease. Items for these hampers have been selected in collaboration with Alberta Health Services and people who are living with these conditions. Renovations are currently underway at the Calgary Food Bank to improve our ability to sort and process food items, offer choice and increase the variety and the volume of those goods we can offer. In the intermediary stage, celiac hamper items, which include items such as gluten free pasta, soup, gluten free pancake and baking mixes, and gluten free snacks are added as addition to regular hamper items. As we are currently unable to go through hampers and remove items that are not celiac-friendly, we encourage people receiving these hampers to donate any unused content to friends, neighbours, or back to us at the Calgary Food Bank through the nearest grocery store donation bin.
The same system is in place for renal hampers, which must be requested through a Renal Clinic with Alberta Health Services. People will receive a base emergency food hamper in addition to hamper contents specifically chosen for people with chronic kidney disease. These additional items will be low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. Again, hamper contents that the household cannot consume can be donated to friends, neighbors, or back to the Calgary Food Bank.
Baby hampers provide items like diapers, formula, baby wipes, and baby food to our youngest clients. If a child is 12 months or younger, the household will have the option to select diaper size, formula brand, and stage of baby food, as instructed by Alberta Health Services. Unfortunately, formula brands cannot be guaranteed, as these are based on availability. From 12 months- 36 months, the household will be able to select diaper or pull-up size. We know that diapers are not a luxury, they are a necessity.
4.5% of the Emergency Food Hampers distributed in 2022
contain diapers, wipes, baby food and formula.
The birthday room holds a special place in the hearts of Calgary Food Bank staff and volunteers! We build birthday kits for children up to 12 years old. These are automatically included in Emergency Food Hampers, if the hamper is picked up within 3 weeks of the birthday. Contents vary, but typically consist of birthday cake mix, icing, candles, an age-appropriate book and toys.
Food insecurity looks different for everyone, whether you’re a single parent, have a medical condition, or recently gave birth. At the Calgary Food Bank, we provide large, nutritious food hampers that meet a range of needs, however we are constantly learning and adapting and look forward to offering more choice around hamper contents in the future.