Charity Intelligence

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Food insecurity is a serious health problem in Canada. It is associated with poorer health, psychological, social, and emotional outcomes. In Alberta, one in ten individuals experience food insecurity, with 17% children living in food insecure households. The existence of food banks is becoming more important as the need for these facilities by families increases. The Calgary Food Bank constantly collecting feedback from our clients, partner agencies, donors, and volunteers. By asking questions and analyzing the responses, we commit to continuous improvement. For a more comprehensive look at our financial overview, please refer to our audited financials.

General Information

Volunteer & Staff


  • Staff 62% 62%
  • Volunteers 38% 38%

Fund Contribution Sources

  • Personal (47%) 47% 47%
  • Corporations (22%) 22% 22%
  • Foundations (21%) 21% 21%
  • Communities (10%) 10% 10%



  • Emergency Food Hampers $35.2M (79.27%) 79.27% 79.27%
  • Food Link $3.6M (8.10%) 8.10% 8.10%
  • Food Share $3.5M (7.93%) 7.93% 7.93%
  • Hampers for the Homeless $1.2M (2.70%) 2.70% 2.70%
  • Weekends and More $426,464 (.96%) .96% .96%
  • Purchasing Power $232,875 (.52%) .52% .52%
  • Welcome Home $227,374 (.51%) .51% .51%


This value is calculated using expenses that directly contributed to programming.
Expenses total: $47,379,973; minus expenses not related to specific programs: $3,012,590; equals the total spend on programming: $41,432,743.


Expense Total (+) Expenses not related to specific programs (-) Total spent on programming (=)


Audited financials
Page 5

Development and Fundraising: $86,554
Communications and resource development: $87,995
Administration and finance: $1,978,679
Client services (portion not spent on programming): $859,362TOTAL: $3,012,590


Emergency Food Hampers


The Emergency Food Hamper Program aims to achieve the Calgary Food Bank’s vision of a hunger-free community and attempts to address hunger and food insecurity as the program provides food and community supports to qualified clients​.

An Emergency Food Hamper is a collection of food items providing 7 to ten days’ worth of food to clients based on the household’s size. We strives to meet Canada’s Food Guide recommendations when determining hamper content. There are five specialty hampers distributed through the Emergency Food Hamper Program; baby hampers, birthday party kits, Celiac hampers, prenatal hampers, and renal hampers.

CAUSES Food insecurity in Canada continues to be prominent. As per data collected between 2017 and 2019, in the Calgary region 7.9% households are either moderately or severely food insecure [1]. This insecurity is currently being affected by Calgary’s unemployment rate, reaching 7% in June of 2019 [2]. Low household income, which can be created by unemployment, is the leading cause of food insecurity [3].

EFFECTS There are a number of negative outcomes related to food insecurity, including poor physical and mental health, and increased risk of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, etc.), which creates a drain on the Canadian health care system.

WHO IS AFFECTED The Emergency Food Hamper Program is designed for individuals or households that cannot access food due to financial constraints.

[1] Statistics Canada, “Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 2017-2019 pooled data,” 2020.
[2] Statistics Canada, “Labour force characteristics by census metropolitan area,” July 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 24 July 2019].
[3] Food Banks Canada, “HungerCount 2018,” Food Banks Canada, Mississauga, 2019.
  • Clients who indicated feeling tense or stressed out at least once or twice daily. 60% 60%


Emergency Food Hampers provide clients in temporary emergency situations with one week’s worth of food and referrals to outside organizations. Food is provided to low-income and food insecure Calgarians. We connect clients with community resources that can address the underlying issues of food insecurity. 25% of clients are referred to other community agencies.

GOALS The goals for the program are to be within 10%, plus or minus in the coming fiscal year. Our goals in 2019/20 for hampers distributed was met, goals for money saved and clients helped by agencies was exceeded. Our goal for referring to agencies was not met, and this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When a state of emergency was declared in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calgary Food Bank made immediate changes to the Emergency Food Hamper Program. The purpose of these changes was to ensure the health and safety of volunteers, clients, and staff. The most significant change was the implementation of the outdoor drive-thru model of distribution, followed by online ID validation to reduce physical contact. As many partner organizations closed or reduced operations, we amended its referral policies so that clients could receive immediate food support. Hamper distribution hours and hamper request phone-line hours were increased, as well as the number and frequency of hampers that a household could access within a twelve-month period. Hamper requests are now assessed on a case-by-case basis with no annual cap, and the frequency at which a household could access Emergency Food Hampers is reduced to as soon as ten days.

Over the course of 2020 we continued to improve the processes that had been introduced in response to COVID-19. These adaptations have been successful in allowing the us to book and process more clients’ requests, therefore increasing the amount of community members whose immediate hunger needs are being met. Some changes, however, have resulted in a more ‘transactional’ process putting much of work the Calgary Food Bank does to refer clients to additional community supports or programs on hold. Indeed, further longitudinal analysis may provide more insight into the detrimental impact of relaxed policies on client dependency and prolonged root cause issues.

  • 72% of programs that had previously referred to the Calgary Food Bank saw a decrease in referrals made.
  • 19% increased their referrals.
  • 157 programs (34%) made no referrals during the period March 2020 – January 2021.
  • 44 new programs (9%) joined during the same period.

Now, over a year on from the introduction of COVID-19 response policies,we are in the early stages of working to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on partner organizations’ operations, and to take actions to improve communications and referral processes under new circumstances. Surveying 62 agencies and through consequential in-depth interviews about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, engagement with and experience with the Calgary Food Bank in March 2021, illustrated that not all agencies had knowledge of the Food Bank’s adapted policies in response to COVID-19. The 52 responses to the statement: ‘I have knowledge about the Calgary Food Bank’s change in how many days clients must leave in between hampers (previously 30 days, now 10 days)’, 69.2% somewhat agreed or strongly agreed, while 28.9% somewhat or strongly disagreed. This indicates a significant amount of agency workers who did not have updated information. As such, this identified as an area to improve to ensure that the program’s offerings are equally accessible for clients for whom the agency is their main access point to emergency food. This understanding demonstrates that positive programmatic change, decoupled from proactive, exhaustive communication, renders change less effective and must become a focus area. Already work is underway to build better relationships with agencies; to ensure comprehensive training at the point of joining for all agency workers working in partnership with the Calgary Food Bank via the Emergency Hamper Program and to better understand the channels by which agencies access information about the Food Bank Program and any changes.

Referrals both to the Food Bank and from the Food Bank to relevant community supports fell drastically during the pandemic and remain lower than previous years (see data on referrals below). While these statistics can be justified by necessary adaptations in response to COVID-19, the more ‘transactional’ process does not serve Calgary Food Bank’s mission to tackle root causes and as referenced earlier, we cannot yet assess the negative impact that relaxed policies may have had a client’s food insecurity. Through closer partnership with agencies, the program team seeks to build back better referral processes through improved training, data-informed referrals, improved information navigation and improved quality assurance measures.

We are projecting for 2021/22, the number of Emergency Hampers distributed to be between 79,359 (min) and 96,995 (max).

We are projecting for 2021/22, the number of referrals to agencies to be between 404 (min) and 494 (max).

We are projecting for 2021/22 the money saved to be between $27,837,953 million (min) and $34,024,165 million (max).

We are projecting for 2021/22 the clients helped by agencies to be between 19,748 (min) and 24,136 (max).

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES Relieving food insecurity and providing support for clients who are experiencing emergency situations. Alleviate the stress of wondering where the next meal is coming from.

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES Creating a hunger-free community.


Descriptions and definitions

This is calculated by counting all members of the household only once, irrespective of their number of visits to the program.

A referral out is where a client, calling into the Calgary Food Bank, is provided with information about community supports that can help address their underlying root cause of food insecurity. Clients may receive a referral at anytime they call our call centre, they do not necessarily have to book an hamper in order to receive a referral to an agency.

A critical part of the Emergency Food Hamper program’s theory is that the clients build connections and receive referrals to available community services for their needs.

Clients are asked how they use the money saved by accessing the Emergency Food Hamper program. Based on the responses, a majority of clients use the money to pay their bills. The second most common response is spending money on rent and additional food. They also use this money for expenditures related to their children, health care, and transportation. Despite this, there is a large section of clients that do not have any spare money to spend on any other expenses. They come to the food bank in situations where they have absolutely no money and need food. This reinforces the theory that the population that accesses food banks are the extremely food insecure segment of the population. These clients use their funds on their fundamental physiological needs such as shelter.

During the period of 2019/20, 9% of the unique clients of the program resulted from a referral from one of the 344 different resources, community agencies and their affiliated programs.

Hampers provided 88,177
Unique clients 55,300
Unique clients under 18 20,209
Clients referred to agencies 449
Clients helped by agencies* 21,942
Agencies/programs receiving referrals from the Food Bank 75
Agencies/programs sending referrals to the Food Bank 324
Money saved** $30,931,059


  • Female Children 35% 35%
  • Female Adults 65% 65%
  • Male Children 39% 39%
  • Male Adults 61% 61%
  Female Male Agender
Under 36 Months 1,779 (3%) 2,211 (3%) 1
Age 3-12 5,637 (10%) 6,047 (11%) 7
Age 13-17 2,362 (4%) 2,529 (5%) 13
Age 18-64 17,373 (31%) 15,566 (28%) 72
Age 65+ 1,045 (2%) 1,035 (2%) 0


Hampers provided 67,879
Unique clients 67,734
Unique clients under 18 24,668
Clients referred to agencies 6,329
Clients helped by agencies* 28,898
Agencies/programs receiving referrals from the Food Bank 344
Agencies/programs sending referrals to the Food Bank 392
Money saved** $24,946,147


  • Female Children 35% 35%
  • Female Adults 65% 65%
  • Male Children 38% 38%
  • Male Adults 62% 62%
Female Male Agender
Under 36 Months 2,323 (3%) 2,316 (3%) 1
Age 3-12 6,887 (10%) 7,364 (11%) 8
Age 13-17 2,790 (4%) 2,975 (4%) 4
Age 18-64 21,176 (31%) 19,540 (29%) 34
Age 65+ 1,178 (2%) 1,138 (2%) 0


Hampers provided 69,249
Unique clients 66,588
Unique clients under 18 23,994
Clients referred to agencies 12,157
Clients helped by agencies* 32,139
Agencies/programs receiving referrals from the Food Bank 315
Agencies/programs sending referrals to the Food Bank 429
Money saved** $17,082,288


  • Female Children 35% 35%
  • Female Adults 65% 65%
  • Male Children 38% 38%
  • Male Adults 62% 62%
Female Male Agender
Under 36 Months 1,835
Age 3-12 7,033
Age 13-17 2,804
Age 18-64 20,985
Age 65+ 1,169


  • As a response to client feedback, and to better support clients who were in quarantine, shielding, or did not feel safe travelling to the Food Bank, we introduced a new mode of hamper distribution: Third-party Pick-ups. Clients are now able to have a family member, friend, or other group pick-up a hamper on their behalf with the scan of a unique QR code.
  • We are dependent on volunteers to power the Emergency Food Hamper Program. During December 2020 and January 2021, Health and Safety restricted physical space within the call centre, coupled with extra-ordinary volunteer cancellations meant that clients calling the call centre were met with higher-than-average wait times (9.5 minutes as opposed to 4.4 minutes) and ultimately increased proportion of abandoned calls (23% as opposed to 20%) were observed. Immediate adaptations were made in response to these challenges: increasing staff capacity to field calls and creating a basic online referral form that clients could independently complete to reduce the length of calls to the call centre. While the short-term solutions were effective to reduce negative impacts; a key learning taken was that to ensure effective programs robust processes, technology and training must be in place. Since, call centre training has been moved into an online format to ensure both best practice training and to reduce the burden on staff so that they are available to support volunteers and field calls.


“Thank you very, very much. I think about the people who donate and the people who organize and distribute the food, and I feel so grateful. You have removed a whole lot of stress from my life. I feel so secured and cared for when my cupboards and fridge are full, as they are today because I picked up my food hamper. Words are not enough, but that is what I’m offering the food bank through this survey. You all have made such a difference for me to carry on today. I continue to look for work knowing I have your support and that I have enough to eat.”
- Food Bank Client

* Clients being helped by other agencies is the number of hampers referred to the Food Bank from other agencies.
**Money saved can be used to pay off debt, pay for rent, utilities, medical bills, childcare, etc. The money saved includes all emergency hampers and baby hampers. The estimated value of each hamper is as follows: Pink $205, Blue $368, Green $511, Purple $716, Orange $880 and Baby $65.

Mobile Hampers


The Mobile Hamper Program provides ready to eat, shelf stable food* for the short-term relief of hunger to people living rough (homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or otherwise impoverished populations). [*requiring minimal/no preparation or refrigeration]

The first goal of the program is to provide short-term hunger relief to clients and the ability to connect clients with agencies that can help with the underlying root cause of their food insecurity. The second goal is for agencies to use the food as a way to connect with clients experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. In addition, the program helps agencies free up time and resources spent on food acquisition that can be used towards programming for clients.

CAUSES Homelessness is understood by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness as the situation of an individual or household without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. [1]

EFFECTS The need for this program remains crucial as the homeless population is disproportionately effected by food insecurity and lack of food [2].

WHO IS AFFECTED Agencies that support and distribute to a population experiencing homelessness and the population experiencing homelessness.

Unlike the Emergency Food Hamper Program, with the Mobile Hamper Program we do not directly connect with the food insecure population receiving the hampers. We work with agencies that are based in Calgary and who are working with individuals that are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. We rely on reporting by the agencies accessing the program to evaluate the impact. According to the reporting by the agencies, the largest segment of the target population that received hampers are categorized as un-sheltered or absolutely homeless and living on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation.

[1] Barr, C., Friesen, A., Hill, C., Kovacs-Burns, K., Pauly, B., Turner, A., & Marsolais, A. (2012). Canadian Definition of Homelessness. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.
[2] Parpouchi, M., Moniruzzaman, A., Russolillo, A., & Somers, J. M. (2016). Food insecurity among homeless adults and mental illness. PLoS ONE, 11, e0159334.


The Mobile Hamper Program addresses food insecurity by providing the short-term relief of hunger to those living rough. The root causes of long-term hunger are also addressed as clients are given hampers by organizations which provide support for individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The food acts as a connector and allows partner organizations to work with individuals to transition them out of poverty. This program reduces poverty by relieving some financial and mental strain on those living rough, and allowing individuals to use the funds and resources to move into a stable shelter situation. We collaborate with 12 non-profit organizations that are working with the homeless population.

GOALS The goals for the program are to be within 10%, plus or minus in the coming fiscal year.

The goal number of hampers distributed in 2019/20 was exceeded because of the introduction of the bulk food option, which allowed partner organizations to receive bulk food instead of pre-made hampers to better serve the needs of their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic where agencies required additional food to support their clients. The Hampers for the Homeless Program successfully met this demand increasing the distribution of hamper content by 12.4% compared to the previous year seeing 24,579 hampers distributed in 2019/20 compared to 21,531 the previous year. Much of this increase came in the final fiscal quarter (June to August 2020) when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Through this distribution, the program potentially saved $737,370 for its partner organizations. Our goal for 2019/20 in this area was also exceeded because of the increased need for the program.

We are projecting for 2021/22, the number of Hampers for the Homeless distributed to be between 26,353 (min) and 32,209 (max). We are projecting for 2021/22 the money saved to be between $977,693 (min) and $1,194,958 (max).

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES Supplying nutrition to those living rough and may not have another source of food.

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES Creating a hunger-free community.


Homelessness puts a strain on both taxpayers and various social agencies costing the Canadian economy $7 Billion annually due to the cost of emergency shelters, social services, health care, and correction. – The Homeless Hub

On a given night, 3,430 Calgarians experience homelessness.

– The Calgary Homeless Foundation

Aboriginal people are over-represented in the homeless population. They make 3% of the Calgary population but make 20% of its homeless population.

What's in a Hamper?
Hampers contain ready to eat, shelf stable food for the short-term relief of hunger to people living rough. They contain 1 to 2 days food, and a hamper typically contains the following content:
▪ Canned meat (2)
▪ Canned soup (2)
▪ Dry soup (2)
▪ Fruit/pudding (4)
▪ Juice/drinks (2)
▪ Oatmeal (6)
▪ Snacks (1)
▪ Bag of cutlery and napkins (1)
Number of agencies 12
Number of bags distributed 29,281
Money saved* $1,086,325


Number of agencies 12
Number of bags distributed 24,579
Money saved* $737,370


Number of agencies 13
Number of bags distributed 21,531
Money saved* $645,930

* Dollar value of hamper savings, allowing agencies focus on their programming rather than outsourcing food.


Despite ongoing efforts to ensure the content provided through the Mobile Hampers Program meets the needs of its clients, the Calgary Food Bank has never received 100% satisfaction in this content across all agencies that access it. This comes with various suggestions for improvement which have been a tremendous assistance in understanding the needs of the population this program serves.

Further methods of gaining evaluation have been utilized. Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Client Action Committee was consulted on November 7, 2019 to gain the perspective of those with lived experience of homelessness. This consultation provided key insights which have since been integrated into the program in various ways. This included a move to include fresh fruit among the content items which is now a well-received item.


“I was homeless for almost 4 years, during that time I was thankful for the homeless hampers that you provided. I lived at the YWCA for 2 years 9 months and I’m now in my own apartment. It wouldn’t be possible without all the help that I’ve been given and continue to receive. ”
- Food Bank Client

Food Share


We can ensure that, instead of wasting donations because of the inability to distribute the high volume of product, the entirety of a donor’s contribution will support food insecure individuals and families. The National and Regional Food Share Programs’ objective is to ensure food banks, outside the city of Calgary, receive enough support to meet the nutritional needs of their clients. The Regional Food Share Program distributes from the Calgary Food Bank to Southern Albertan food banks and the National Food Share Program moves food across Canada.

CAUSES As per the most recent available statistics, food insecurity in Canada is now higher than any prior national estimate [1]. There were 4.4 million people living in food-insecure households in 2017-18. Rural food banks in Canada, due to their often remote locations, have higher food transportation costs and fewer donations.

EFFECTS It is challenging for the food banks to maintain adequate food supply for their clients.

WHO IS AFFECTED Food banks in need of support to provide for their food insecure clients.

Alberta Food Banks

Airdrie Food Bank
Good Samaritan Mission (Athabasca)
Brooks Food Bank Foundation
Chestermere Food Bank
Claresholm Food Bank
Crowsnest Pass Food Bank Society (Blairmore)
Food Banks Alberta
Iyarhre Nakoda Food Bank (Eden Valley)
Kainai Food Bank Society (Standoff)
Lethbridge Food Bank
Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge
Medicine Hat Dream Centre
Iyahrhe Nakoda Food Bank Society (Morely)
Mountain View Food Bank Society (Olds)
Okotoks Food Bank
Pincher Creek Food Bank
Red Deer Food Bank Society
The Lord’s Food Bank (Rocky Mountain House)
Siksika / Iitasino Food Bank
St Paul & District Food Bank
Wheatland County Food Bank (Strathmore)
Tsuut’ina Food Bank
Taber Food Bank Society
Vulcan Regional Food Bank Society

[1] Tarasuk V, Mitchell A. (2020) Household food insecurity in Canada, 2017-18. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF). Retrieved from


The National and Regional Food Share Programs work to distribute perishable and non-perishable products to food banks in need of food supplies across Canada. This allows food banks to maintain food supply for their clients while food waste is reduced.

GOALS The goals for the program are to be within 10%, plus or minus in the coming fiscal year. We are projecting for 2021/22, the pounds of food distributed through Food Share to be between 1,633,316 (min) and 1,996,276 (max). We are projecting for 2021/22 the value of the food distributed to be between $4,246,622 (min) and $5,190,317 (max). Our goal for 2019/20 was exceeded because there was an increased demand for this program.

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES By collaborating with other food banks and charities, we ensure that emergency food and supplies are delivered where they are needed most, reaching more food insecure clients. By re-distributing excessive amounts of certain items to other agencies results in reduced food waste.


Creating a
hunger-free community.

Below is a list of the food categories that are distributed.

  • Baking and condiments: 22.82%
  • Snacks: 22.71%
  • Canned and prepared food: 17.45%
  • Grains (bread and cereal): 15.71%
  • Drinks (coffee, tea, pop, water): 14.97%
  • Dairy: 2.83%
  • Baby: 1.42%
  • Vegetable and fruit: 1.32%
Number of beneficiaries (Food Banks) 31
Pounds of food distributed 1,814,796
Dollar value of food distributed* $4,718,469


Number of beneficiaries (Food Banks) 30
Pounds of food distributed 2,361,823
Dollar value of food distributed* $6,140,740


Number of beneficiaries (Food Banks) 27
Pounds of food distributed 2,071,677
Dollar value of food distributed* $5,386,360

* By collaborating with other food banks and charities, we ensure that emergency food and supplies are delivered where they needed most reaching more food insecure clients. Dollar value of food distributed through regional share.


We have participated in numerous program evaluation activities that have led to several learnings.

  • We need to determine the definition of this program and its target population.
  • Reviewing the program’s Performance Measurement Strategy highlighted the importance of beneficiary food banks’ feedback to evaluate the Food Share Program.

The following changes are required based on these learnings.

  • A definition for the Food Share Program and target population needs to be determined. This will maintain consistent messaging internally and externally and keeps the program aligned with the Calgary Food Bank’s mission.
  • Operational changes are required to collect feedback from beneficiary Food Banks.
“It’s like Christmas when the Calgary Food Bank truck arrives. We never know exactly what we’ll get, but it’s always amazing. You supply stuff we don’t normally receive, and we are able to direct the food to people we might not normally be able to support. Ethnic foods, ‘fun foods’ such as taco kits and chunky soups find their way into hungry tummies in the Creston Valley area thanks to you.”
- Bobbi-Jo Faye Creston Valley Gleaners Society

Presents data to readers that uses standardized or common metrics to assess key program outputs. The charity may either present the metrics in the format used to report their metrics to the government, ministry, foundation, coalition, or other standards – setting organization, or may make the explicit claim that its metrics are based on such standards, without providing documentation.

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


By appointment only.



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


5020 12A Street SE
Calgary, AB T2G 5K9


Main line: 403-253-2059


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

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