our community programs and services
Emergency Food Hamper Program
The Emergency Food Hamper Program is available to families and individuals who are experiencing food insecurity due to emergency situations, with seven to 10 days’ worth of nutritious food for each person in the household.
Eligibility criteria are being adjusted as the situation changes. As of May 6, 2020, clients can now receive emergency food hampers after the 10-day window from their last request. Please refer to our COVID-19 Operational Updates for the most recent changes to client eligibility.
As an approved agency you will be able to make online referrals for Emergency Food Hampers for your clients. You will have access to our online referral portal, where you will be able to input your client’s information, request pick-up times and track your requests. You can pick-up hampers for your clients; send them to pick-up their hamper from a satellite location or our main warehouse; or arrange for Care Connect delivery. Please refer to our FAQ section for more information about the online system.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many hampers can a client receive in a year?
Eligibility criteria are being adjusted as the situation changes. As of May 6, 2020, clients can now receive emergency food hampers after the 10-day window from their last request.
For example, if a client received a hamper on the 1st of the month, the next date they can receive food is the 12th of the month.
Do you get more food at the main warehouse than at a satellite location?
No! While Emergency Food Hampers may contain different items at our main campus than at our satellite locations, you can be sure that we work hard to provide as much variety in each hamper regardless of where it is picked up.
While we cannot guarantee specific items within our Emergency Food Hampers at any of our locations, we work hard to provide a well-rounded variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein and grain items.
How do I get a hamper at a satellite location?
When you are booking an Emergency Food Hamper, you will be asked where you would like to pick-up your hamper. You can choose the location that is nearest to your home or most convenient for you. The days and hours vary for each location, please check to make sure that the location’s hours work for you.
Some satellite locations do have a drive thru model however each satellite location is different. Each location has their own hamper distribution method that adheres to health and safety guidelines. This may include a drive-thru model at some locations, and social distancing and enhanced cleaning procedures at others.
Please note that our main campus is closed on weekends, but we do have a satellite location open on Saturdays from 2 – 4 pm at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on 703 Heritage Drive SW.
Are there lineups at satellite locations?
Not at all! Our satellite locations are smaller and can be faster than at the main warehouse location. Your client will be helped by volunteers when they come to pick-up their Emergency Food Hamper and they can expect to be on their way much quicker.
Can clients request customized hampers?
Due to the volume of hampers that we distribute daily, we do not customize hampers. Clients can set aside any items that they cannot consume. In addition, we have specialty hampers available including baby, celiac and renal hampers to cater to the diverse dietary needs of our clients.
What content is given for infants and children?
- Children aged 0-12 months can receive a full baby hamper. This includes diapers, wipes, and formula, as requested.
- Children aged 5-12 months will receive a full baby hamper and baby food, as requested.
- Children over the age of 12 months are able to receive diapers.
Please note a baby hamper is only provided to a family who is also receiving an Emergency Food Hamper.
Are baby hampers available at all locations?
Yes! We build baby hampers and ship them to our satellite locations.
What variety of food, formula, and diapers do you have to offer?
We rely largely on donations for baby products and supplement by purchasing needed items. Some formula brands are much more popular than others and are not always in stock. When requesting hampers, you can request any brand of formula, but we may have to make a substitution.
Who is eligible for a Birthday Party Kit?
The Birthday Party Kit never needs to be requested; our system will automatically assign them based on eligibility.
What is included in a Birthday Party Kit?
Birthday Party Kits are built according to the eligible child’s age. They contain party supplies such as birthday candles, balloons, cake mix, and cake frosting. They also contain an age-appropriate toy and a book. Birthday Party Kits are 100% donated items so may not include a particular item at the time of pick up.
Agency Referral Process
How do I become an approved Referral Agency?
There are agencies in Calgary and area that work with vulnerable populations, many of whose clients are food insecure. Their clients quite often need more than three hampers in a year, therefore require a referral from an approved agency. Referrals are critical to ensure we are working together to address the root cause of poverty, starting with food needs.
If your organization needs to refer clients to the Food Bank, please contact Michelle Vetland by email or call 403-253-2059 ext. 203.
How do I send online referrals?
Your organization needs to request an application form and be approved as a referral agency prior to you being able to send in online referrals. You will receive an email with instructions for how to register your agency.
To become an approved agency please contact:
Michelle Vetland, Client Services Associate
P: 403-253-2039, Ext. 214 OR 403-640-8810
How can my client access an Emergency Food Hamper?
- Clients can access our main warehouse or any of our satellite locations to pick up their hamper directly.
- Third Party ID Validation option allows for others to pick-up and drop-off a client’s hamper.
- Care Connect is a partner organization that uses volunteers to deliver hampers for clients.
- Agency workers can pick up and deliver hampers on behalf of their clients.
How do I book a Care Connect delivery for a client?
When filling out the online form, first select today’s date (the date will change) and then click on “delivery…CC”. Please note, “delivery” field must remain as “client pick-up”.
Clients or agency workers are responsible for setting up the delivery time and date with Care Connect. To schedule a delivery, clients can call Care Connect at 403-264-2636 or agency workers can fax Care Connect at 403-264-2642.
How can I print a copy of the referral for my records or Care Connect
To print a copy of the referral, select the “Hampers” tab at the top of the page. Once in the tab you can search for the desired client by name or hamper number. Once you have located the hamper referral you would like to print, double click on the hamper and select the information you wish to appear on the PDF record.
Are there instructions for a new hamper request?
Yes, if you click on the “Help” icon on the top right-hand side of the screen by your name, step by step instructions will appear.
Where can I send my client to pick up an Emergency Food Hamper?
When requesting an Emergency Food Hamper for your client, you can choose from a number of locations throughout Calgary that will work best for them. Find a satellite locations for your client.
Please note that our main warehouse location is closed on weekends, but we do have a satellite location open on Saturdays from 2 – 4 pm at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on 703 Heritage Drive SW.
Why can't I log in?
Online referral system passwords expire monthly to limit access to workers that may no longer be with an organization. When your password expires you can reset it by clicking “Recovery password” and then entering your email address. This will generate a link to your email which you can click on to set a new password.
Will the food bank follow up with the client after the hamper is approved?
It is the responsibility of the agency worker submitting the referral to let the client know that their hamper has been approved and when they can pick it up. Agency workers MUST wait for approval confirmation before advising the client to come the food bank.
What kind of ID does my client need?
For hamper pick-up, two pieces of ID is required for adults and one piece is required for children. Accepted identification includes:
Health Care Card
What if my client doesn't have ID?
If your client does not have the appropriate identification, we will try to be as lenient as possible. When submitting the referral, you may include a comment informing us of your client’s ID issues as well as what is available to them.
How do I indicate special requests?
To alert Calgary Food Bank staff of any special requests or concerns, please leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of the new hamper referral page. Once the comment is left, it will prevent automatic approval and alert our staff to review the requests made.
Due to the volume of hampers that we distribute daily, we do not customize hampers, however clients do have options for produce and meat when picking up their hamper. Clients can set aside any items that they cannot consume. In addition, we have specialty hampers available including pre-natal, baby, celiac and renal hampers to cater to the diverse dietary needs of our clients.
How can I view the status of my hamper requests?
The status of your hamper request is located under the tab “Hampers” at the top of the screen. To search for a specific hamper, enter in the seven-digit hamper number or the client’s first or last name. Once you have found the hamper you wish to view, the status of the hamper will show up next to the depot code.
How can I edit the information on the request once it has been sent?
Once the hamper request is submitted and approved, you can double click on the hamper request under the “Hampers” tab at the top of the page to edit the client’s address, phone number, pick up time, date and location. However, any other changes to the request form will require you to re-submit a separate referral. You can also contact us at 403-640-8810, if you have any questions or concerns.
How can I add a baby order to the referral?
The baby order will become available once the birthdate of the child has been entered under clients in the new hamper request. For children 1 and under, you can then select the size of the diapers needed and the type of formula or food; for children 1-3 years old you can select the diaper size needed.
How do I view past referrals?
All the information on past and present hamper referrals made by you are located under the “Hampers” tab.
Where do I go to pick-up a hamper for a client?
You can choose to pick up your client’s hamper at our main warehouse (5000 11 Street SE), or at any of our satellite locations.
When is the client's Intake Month?
This information is available on the online referral system under the “Hampers” tab.
I'm trying to access the online system but the link won't work.
If you are trying to access the online referral system using the link that was sent in an email and it won’t work, it is because the emails are system generated and are a one-time use only. Please access the system at https://referral.calgaryfoodbank.com.
Why is it asking to complete a baby order when there are no household members that are under 3 years old?
Sometime when you enter the full year of birth, the system auto populates “20” in front of the year you typed in. Only type in the last two digits of the year of birth to avoid this from happening.
It looks like my client has hampers available but they are being refused.
If your client has been refused because they have reached the maximum year-to-date for hampers, but the account shows they have only received six hampers it may be because they self-referred or have been referred by another agency worker. The year-to-date count will not reflect these hampers.