Summer 2023 Comfort Food

COMFORT FOOD | Newsletter

Client Story

Meet Shelby, a survivor of depression and anxiety for most of her adult life. Like many, generational wounds caused years of distress for this kind and gentle woman who now enjoys time with her three adult children, passing on to them and their friends, the importance of hearing people, validating them, and giving hope.  

Happily, in 2015 she met a person who changed her. “This person helped to lift off my carried energy of guilt and shame. After that, my progression over 8 years to heal helped me to develop healthier tools and techniques while gradually clearing stuff out of my life that is no longer needed physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

She says that the healing is far from done and those healthier tools help her to continue healing, growing and changing as she meets life’s challenges. Shelby lives with new optimism and enjoys her life. 

Shelby is enrolled in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s peer support program through Recovery College. She hopes to have that course completed by the end of September and will combine her understanding of mental health, her Reiki practice and her personal experience of the importance of validation, to support others.  

Shelby’s first experience with a food bank was in the early 2000s when she visited the Food Bank in Stettler. She recalls a time when she knew she needed help and just asked. Moving to Calgary in 2012, she accessed the Calgary Food Bank on a few occasions over the years but always felt ‘someone must need this more than me’. A common misconception heard at the Calgary Food Bank is that folks experiencing food insecurity — hunger – feel that others need the support more than they do. Shelby says, “I see people living on the streets, they need the food bank; I’ll get by”. But looking back now, she says, “It’s not just those we ‘think’ should access support, everyone deserves to eat. Just because you have some food in the house doesn’t mean you have all that you need nutritionally.”

Shelby adds that people need a connection, “It’s about getting the food and getting the chance to connect with someone and having the chat they need that day because often, just one little thing happens and you get overwhelmed, so hearing a caring non-judgmental voice on the phone can be so helpful.”    

As for people who give their time and talent to the Calgary Food Bank to support others, Shelby chooses her words thoughtfully, “You won’t always see the effects of your contribution; but the way you help people is extremely valuable and encouraging. Your support not only provides food, but by volunteering and connecting with people; you are offering food for the soul and that is every bit as important as food for the body”. 

childrens birthday party

Volunteer Spotlight

Rodney in the Call Centre

Meet Rodney, a medical school student and call center volunteer! Since childhood, Rodney’s passion has been helping people. Moving from Nigeria to Canada 4 years ago, he joined the Calgary Food Bank as a volunteer 1 year ago. We’re grateful for Rodney’s kind heart and dedication to our community.


Partners In Action

Inspiring Donor Story

Paul and Doug Lavoi are a super fit, fun and inspiring couple who have decided to celebrate the milestone of their 50th Birthdays by running 50 half marathons in 50 weeks. That’s a feat unto itself, but they’ve gone a step beyond and are running in support of the Calgary Food Bank. Their original goal of $50,000.00 raised before Doug’s 50th birthday this September was surpassed in June and they quickly made the decision to add another $50,000.00 to the goal! The guys say, “Birthdays can be a moment for all of us to celebrate and reflect upon how we can be our best version; not only for ourselves, but also our community”. The 50th run is to be completed on Doug’s 50th birthday on September 24, 2023. In July, they completed their 45th in Santa Monica CaliforniaPaul and Doug are asking for everyone to join the campaign by donating $5, $50 or $500. Really, any amount you could donate would be amazing!

Be part of the journey, follow them on Instagram: @luvdug73 @paullavoiedesign or #THE50450  

What’s New?

Canned Vegetables


Opening satellite locations takes a multi-faceted approach to ensure all systems are in place in order to achieve success. Often church or community groups are eager to support those experiencing food insecurity in their own community, so this is an easy “ask”. Infrastructure to ensure the safety of all is paramount. Not only is the ability to refrigerate and store foods at the proper temperature critical, but it is also important to ensure there are ramps/loading docks and easy access so our staff and volunteers can safely move large amounts of food without risk of injury. Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers that work hard to ensure food is accessible to as many people as possible.  

Canned Vegetables


The Calgary Stampede is behind us now, but wasn’t that a party?! We are still counting, but over $221 thousand was raised over the course of the 10 days. It was one heckuva ride from Stampede Breakfasts to community Barbecues to arranging pickups and drop-offs from 3rd party fundraisers. Thank you, Calgary for your incredible support! See our fun wrap-up video.


Homeless Cars

The Calgary Food Bank has a brand-new partnership with a new organization to our city: Homeless Cars. We sat down with the Director of Operations and Communications, Gillian Speziali to learn more.  

What is Homeless Cars?

A vehicle donation charity that really prides itself on keeping donations local.

How long have you been operating in Alberta?

We came to Calgary at the beginning of 2023, and started up in Edmonton shortly after

How do I donate my vehicle?

It’s really simple. Call 1-833-465-7227 and an agent will walk you through the donation during a 5–10-minute phone call. You only need the vehicle information (year, make, model, kilometers & condition) and your personal information for your tax receipt.

What’s next?

We will schedule a pickup time Monday through Saturday. On the day of pickup, our tow driver will call when they are approximately a ½ hour away. You provide keys and sign the bill of sale with the tow driver upon arrival.  

How will I know the value of my vehicle?

We guarantee a tax receipt in the amount of at least $800 as long as the vehicle is inclusive of all its major parts.  If the vehicle ends up selling for more than the guaranteed minimum, your tax receipt will be adjusted to reflect the value of the vehicle.

How does your charity work from other, similar models?

Before Homeless Cars began, our founder realized that despite having access to many vehicle donation charities, Canadians didn’t have an option that kept the funds raised from their vehicle donation in the community the vehicle was donated in. This is how Homeless Cars came to be; from a desire to see funds raised in the community support people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity in the same area.

In other words, Calgarians who choose to donate their cars through Homeless Cars know that their donation will directly support local organizations such as the Calgary Food Bank. Donate A Car — Homeless Cars 


A Word From Our CEO

Rodney in the Call Centre

So many rolled up their sleeves and worked harder than ever to increase capacity to clear the backlog of demand we saw in the late winter and spring.   

Not everyone loves stats, and at times they can be dizzying, but the hard truth is the number of people we are serving is staggering:   

In June 2023, we distributed over 14,000 Emergency Food Hampers which is a 47% increase compared to June 2022. The number of lives affected also increased by 47% to a staggering 38,170. 

Comparing the first 6 months of 2023, we distributed over 74,000 Emergency Food Hampers which is a 30% increase in the number of hampers distributed in the first half of 2022.   

This can be largely attributed to the increase in demand, as well as the increase in our capacity since May, to bring the wait times down.   

Our summer months are typically our slowest months, as people have access to more fresh produce and seasonal work is plentiful. Stampede in particular is typically our slowest week as there are a lot of pancake breakfasts and community barbecues. But what we have seen this year is not reflective of what our historic data has shown, in those previous years where Stampede Week would be one of our slowest weeks, it was our busiest week so far this year.   

Thanks to the incredible support from our community, Stampede Week yielded an amazing amount of food and funds donated. We are at $221,268.03 and counting! To all who contribute time, food and funds, we thank you so very much. Only together can we fight hunger and its root causes.   


Coming Soon

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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


© 2020 Calgary Food Bank. All rights reserved. | Charitable # 130 167 349 RR0001

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