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The Calgary Food Bank has known for years that food is a great connector and our Community Liaison Team are the expert connectors. Food opens the door to conversation that leads to other types of aid; ultimately contributing to successful independence and a more fulfilling and happier life.    

For 38 years our clients could access seven hampers in a year, and only after 30 days. Their first three hampers could be accessed by calling directly to request. If additional hampers were needed, a referral was made to an organization who worked with them on food insecurity issues and organized their future food support.  

In March 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic turned lives upside down, increasing rates of unemployment and the risk of food insecurity. To ensure people had access to the food they needed during this crisis, we opened accessibility so that households could access as many hampers as they needed in a 12-month period, available every 10 days if needed. The pandemic also impacted many community organizations’ operations, many transitioned programs online or limited offerings due to social distance protocols. This affected referrals to their programs, so we removed that requirement to ensure there were no barriers to accessing emergency food. The pause in referrals turned into an opportunity.  

We revamped the process and have now initiated a more client centric, trauma-informed way to guide clients to supports beyond food. Today we have trained Referral* & Resource volunteers who call clients that opt for follow-up. Together they explore community organizations that can meet the needs of the individual’s unique situation. Alongside a call with a trained volunteer, people can also access the referral questionnaire right on the website and in their own time.  

This new initiative began in earnest this past Spring and the results have been eye-opening. Calgary Food Bank clients want guidance. They are looking for help guiding the vastness of the social service system.  Anecdotal evidence has shown this a critical offering with the most requested assistance in these areas: 

1. I need help applying for benefits/ I do not know what government benefits I am eligible for.


2. I am receiving a fixed government benefit and do not have enough money to consistently pay my rent each month.   


3. I am receiving a fixed government benefit and do not have enough money to consistently pay my utilities each month.  

We continue to evaluate the impact these referrals* provide. In the meantime, we will continue to include the question “Do you need help beyond food?” when connecting with clients so that we can more effectively address the root cause of hunger.    


*The Calgary Food Bank does not offer verified referrals, but rather guidance to other organizations that can offer support.


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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Calgary Food Bank acknowledges that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

Calgary Food Bank

5000 11 Street SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2Y5


By appointment only
Monday to Friday: 8:00 am – 11:00 am

Donation Centre, Door 7

Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm


Monday to Thursday: 8:15 am – 7:00 pm
Friday: 8:15 am – 4:00 pm

Or book online



Monday to Thursday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm


5020 12A Street SE
Calgary, AB T2G 5K9


Reception: 403-253-2059


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