Fighting Hunger and Its Root Cause
The Emergency Food Hamper Program is at the core of the Calgary Food Bank’s mission. The food hampers contain ten days worth of nutritious food for each person. When the stress of providing food is literally taken off the table, the emergency can then be addressed. The next step is to help clients build connections and address the root causes of their food insecurity by giving them referrals to other community services.
An emergency food hamper not only relieves a client’s hunger and provides nutritious food, but also relieves financial pressures. A hamper for four people has an estimated market value of $368. For those having difficulties making ends meet, $368 is a significant amount that can now go towards other expenses such as transportation, health care, or the needs of children or other dependents. When clients were surveyed, they said that they now had money they could use to pay rent, utilities, childcare bills, and more.
Approved referral partners (agencies) can make online referrals for Emergency Food Hampers for their clients. These partners will have access to the online referral portal, where they will be able to input client’s information, request pick-up times and track requests. Hampers can be picked up for clients; or they can pick-up their hamper from a satellite location, the main warehouse; or arrange for Care Connect delivery. Please refer to the FAQ section for more information about the online system.
The Calgary Food Bank distributes more than 500 emergency food hampers every day. Their emergency triage system makes sure clients, who come from all walks of life, get the help they need quickly.
The Calgary Food Bank believes that good, nutritious food should not be out of reach for anyone. They work diligently to ensure their hampers are nutritious, aiming to meet Canada’s Food Guide. They contain 30% other*, 28% fruits and vegetables, 26% protein, and 16% whole grains**.
*Other includes consumables that don’t fit into another category such as tea, condiments, drinks, chips, chocolate, pastries, baking supplies, white bread/pasta/rice etc.
** Whole grains constitute any food item where the first ingredient is whole grain: rice, pasta, bread, crackers etc.
Fruits & Vegetables
Numbers reflect our fiscal year, September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.
emergency food hampers distributed
specialty hampers distributed
volunteers a day
referrals to other agencies
Specialty hampers include, Celiac, baby, and renal hampers to cater to the diverse dietary needs of clients.
Renal Hampers provide healthy, low in sodium food options while eliminating foods with high potassium as well as minimal processed foods.
Celiac hampers provide nutritious, gluten-free and celiac-friendly foods for clients who are unable to process gluten.
Infant and baby hampers include diapers, formula and baby food to ensure the youngest clients get what they need.
Numbers reflect our fiscal year, September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.
Celiac & Renal Hampers
Baby and Prenatal Hampers
Birthday Kits distributed
Community Partner Questions
What is a referral partner
A referral partner is a community organization in Calgary and the surrounding area that works with people experiencing food insecurity. For a range of reasons, someone may prefer an organization to request and schedule a hamper on their behalf. Community organizations can do this via an online hamper request portal.
How do I become an approved referral partner?
Please get in touch with Michelle Vetland by email or at 403-253-2059 ext. 203 to discuss your organization’s needs. You will be provided with an application form to fill out. If approved, we will create a profile for your organization in our system and invite you for a welcome presentation and tour.
How do I send online referrals?
Your organization needs to request an application form and be approved as a referral partner before 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 referral partner please contact:
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.
- Organization 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 organization 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. Please note, Care Connect is a 3rd party charity that supports hamper delivery.
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.
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, one piece 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?
People cannot choose their produce. They can only choose their meat when picking it up at the main warehouse. Clients can set aside any items that they cannot consume. We have specialty hampers available, including 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.
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.
There are several reasons why a hamper may have been refused. The most common is because a hamper has already been requested and scheduled. To see why a hamper was refused, go to the ‘Hampers’ tab and search for the person by name. The refused hamper will have a comment explaining why it was refused.