Fighting food insecurity during the holiday season2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Around the Region showcases the work of community partners. For December, we highlight how the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Cambridge Food Bank are supporting people experiencing food insecurity.
Written by: the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Cambridge Food Bank
It’s been a challenging year for residents in Waterloo Region. The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (The Food Bank) saw a 26 per cent increase in food distribution and a 36 per cent increase in food hamper use.
These staggering numbers are on pace with what is happening across Canada. In March 2021 alone, there were over 1.3 million visits to food banks across Canada – an increase of 20 per cent compared to 2019. These figures are reminiscent of the 2008 recession, where food insecurity peaked, and the resulting social and economic consequences were catastrophic.
Despite these challenges, The Food Bank and the Community Food Assistance Network – a system of more than 100 community organizations providing food and support to those in need – have been working tirelessly to ensure no one in the region goes hungry. The Food Bank distributed 4.7 million pounds to the network, including 1.4 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, which helped put food on the table for over 34,600 people across the region. The Community Food Assistance network also delivered 91,660 food hampers to those in need and distributed 1,830 community meals every day.
Looking ahead, inflation and rising food prices will continue to be a challenge. With the help of community partners and donors, including the Region of Waterloo, The Food Bank will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the community’s changing needs.
Serving Cambridge and North Dumfries, the Cambridge Food Bank (CFB) offers a variety of programs for people in need. While CFB is best known for their Emergency Hamper program, they’re committed to building health and belonging through food.
Their newest initiative is the Mobile Food Market (MFM), a market that travels to six neighbourhoods across Cambridge and North Dumfries every week. For the low-cost of $5, shoppers can pick up five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables, a staple pantry item like flour or tuna, and a soup/sauce/dip made from their own MFM kitchen. Everyone is welcome to shop at the market and those who are able to are invited to contribute more than the $5 program fee in order to support those living on a low income.
Every week the Cambridge Food Bank offers free virtual workshops for children and adults, complete with all the necessary food supplies. These workshops combine learning with fun and building social connections. Travel the world in the Global Kitchen program and make tasty food from countries all over the world.