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FAQ's | Quick Facts about The Food Bank |

Grade 1-2 Activity: The Path to Sharing with The Food Bank

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The Path to Sharing with The Food Bank
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The Food Bank of Waterloo Region FAQ's

1. What is The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
2. What agencies/ food programs receive food from The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
3. What is a hamper program?
4. What is The Food Bank of Waterloo Region's 2nd Helping Program?
5. What is the Mission of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
6. How many people in Waterloo Region use The Food Bank?
7. What geographical area is served by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
8. Who uses food from The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
9. Do people who access The Food Bank have to go through any type of screening process before they are given food?
10. How can someone in need of food get food from The Food Bank?
11. Why might some people in need of food not use The Food Bank?
12. What role do volunteers play at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region? What sorts of things do they do?
13. How are volunteers recognized?
14. Will volunteering at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region count towards my 40 required secondary school student community involvement hours?
15. How do I register to volunteer?
16. What food items can be donated to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?
17. Can I make a cash/cheque/credit card donation?
18. How are food/cash donations used?
19. Where can I make a donation?
20. Will I get a charitable tax receipt for my donation?
21. What events are run by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region to raise food & funds?
22. How can I get involved in these events?

What is The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

Established in 1984, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is a charitable, community-based organization that acquires and distributes donated food for families and individuals in need. We are part of Food Banks Canada (www.foodbankscanada.ca) and the Ontario Association of Food Banks (www.oafb.ca) The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is a central distribution centre located at 50 Alpine Court, Kitchener which distributes food to 82 member agencies and food programs in the community, who in turn distribute food directly to those in need.

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What agencies/ food programs receive food from The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region has 82 member agencies and food programs across the Region. We mainly supply food to 3 types of programs: hamper programs (which provide hampers of food to individuals and families in need), hot meal programs, and shelters and residential programs. Please click here for a list of our member agencies and community food programs.

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What is a hamper program?

A hamper program provides people with a "hamper" (box of food) filled with perishable and non-perishable food for 3 to 5 days.

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What is The Food Bank of Waterloo Region's Perishable Program?

The perishable food program receives donations of perishable food from grocery strores and other food retail outlets. A refrigerated truck delivers this food directly (same day) to participating agencies and programs for use in hampers and meal preparation. Food is shared with participating programs based on the number of service units (hampers or meals) distributed by the program the previous month. Examples of product include: Fruit and vegetables, prepared salads, deli meats, cheese, bread and pastries, pre-cooked dinners.

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What is the Mission of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region Mission: Through community partnerships, we obtain and distribute emergency food from our neighbours for our neighbours.

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How many people in Waterloo Region use The Food Bank?

In 2013, approximately 34,735 different people in Waterloo Region used food from The Food Bank.

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What geographical area is served by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region serves the entire Region of Waterloo including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the surrounding Townships of Wilmot, Woolwich, Wellesley and North Dumfries.

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Who uses food from The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

There is a growing need for food assistance for people on fixed incomes, the elderly, and people working in low paying positions. In 2013, 23% of food hampers went to people who were earning income (part-time employment, full-time employment, employment insurance), 7% went to individuals with no income, 38% of food hampers went to individuals on Ontario Works (an Ontario Government program for people in temporary financial need), 25% of hampers went to people with disabilities, and 6% of hampers went to people receiving Old Age Pension.

Children (under the age of 18) represent 37% of all food hamper recipients.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region also provides food to all of the local shelters/hostels in our community, as well as to community meal programs, breakfast and snack programs and community outreach programs.

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Do people who access The Food Bank have to go through any type of screening process before they are given food?

There are basic questions asked of people accessing hamper programs, such as their name, address, type of income (employment, disability pension, social assistance, old age security etc.), the number of people they are picking up food for (e.g. themselves vs. a couple vs. a family with children) and whether the food is for children or adults.

There is also a "HungerCount", which captures basic information that all food banks keep confidentially and then aggregate and send to the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) for their survey of food banks and emergency food programs.

To view the most recent HungerCount, please visit Food Banks Canada's HungerCount page .
Local HungerCount results can be seen at our Hunger Count page.

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How can someone in need of food get food from The Food Bank?

People in need of food assistance can access food by contacting one of our agencies. To see a list of agency contacts, please click here.

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Why might some people in need of food not use The Food Bank?

While statistics are not currently available on this issue, some reasons that have been mentioned in the past are a lack of awareness that there is food available to them, difficulties asking for help/pride, difficulties getting to a location where food is available, illness or mental health issues that interfere with getting assistance, different cultural views on the acceptability of using an assistance program like The Food Bank, and fear that not being able to provide for their family may result in children being removed from the home.

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What role do volunteers play at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region? What sorts of things do they do?

Volunteers are our most valuable resource and an integral part of the work we do. Volunteers are priceless, and the Food Bank would not exist without them. We have over 1600 volunteers at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region including individuals, school groups, families and corporate groups. Volunteers offer support by sorting food and helping in the warehouse, by driving and assisting our drivers to deliver food, by working at reception and performing other administrative duties, and by being part of a committee or volunteering during special events. Please see the Volunteer section of our website for more details.

Also, volunteers participate by coordinating events in their offices or schools such as Food Drives or Brown Bag Lunch Days. Please see the Coordinate a Food Drive section of our website for more information.

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How are volunteers recognized?

The Food Bank of Waterloo acknowledges the hard work of our volunteers in many ways. Once a year, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region holds a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast in honour of our volunteers, which recognizes volunteers and groups for their hours of service and years of services. The Food Bank also has a Nelson Jarvis Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award and an Outstanding Youth of the Year Award. Volunteers are also nominated for community and provincial awards.

In addition, The Food Bank recognizes our volunteers throughout the year (e.g. after the fall food drive, spring food drive and Christmas). Social events are planned and appreciation shown everyday to the people who help keep the Food Bank afloat.

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Will volunteering at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region count towards my 40 required secondary school student community involvement hours?

Yes. The Food Bank offers many opportunities to students needing to complete their 40 hours of community involvement. There are a limited number of spaces. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator. The Volunteer Coordinator will verify the number of hours that you contribute to us and complete any necessary forms as proof of your involvement at the Food Bank.

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How do I register to volunteer?

If you are interested in volunteering, please see the volunteer section of our website to fill out a Volunteer Application Form.

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What food items can be donated to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region accepts any non-perishable food items.

The following items are especially in need:

  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Canned Beans and Beans in Sauce
  • Rice
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cold Cereal 
  • Dry Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned Meat & Fish
  • Canned Stews
  • Canned Pasta

The most updated list of our most needed food items can be found here.

Please bring non-perishable food donations to the Donations door at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (50 Alpine Court, Kitchener), or drop them in the designated bins located in most Waterloo Region grocery stores.

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Can I make a cash/cheque/credit card donation?

Yes. Cash/cheque/credit card donations can be made online, in person at the reception desk, or mailed to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (50 Alpine Court, Kitchener, Ontario, N2E 2M7). For credit card donations, please fill out the online form with your credit card information or you can make your credit card donation by phone by calling 519-743-5576.

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How are food/cash donations used?

Your gift of $20 provides for a family of 4 for 4 days. Your gift of $100 equals a day without hunger for over 80 men, women and children. Financial donations are used to offset the cost of food procurement, warehousing, distribution of food and administrative cost.

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Where can I make a donation?

Cash/cheque/credit card donations can be made online, in person at the reception desk, or mailed to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (50 Alpine Court, Kitchener, Ontario, N2E 2M7). For credit card donations, please fill out the online form with your credit card information, or you can make your credit card donation by phone by calling 519-743-5576.

Please bring non-perishable food donations to the Donations door (along the side of our building) at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (50 Alpine Court, Kitchener) during our business hours, or drop them in the designated collection bins located in most Waterloo Region grocery stores.

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Will I get a charitable tax receipt for my donation?

Cash/cheque/credit card donations of any amount are eligible for a tax receipt. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number with any donation so a tax receipt can be issued to you.

Non-perishable food donations are not eligible for tax receipts.

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What events are run by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region to raise food & funds?

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region, in partnership with many local organizations, runs several events to raise food and funds. Some of these include Food Drives, DIG IN, Stuff-A-Bus, Empty Bowls and many more. For upcoming events, please see our Upcoming Events Page.

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How can I get involved in these events?

There are many ways to get involved in these events. One way is to become a Food Drive Coordinator at your office or school. For details on becoming a Food Drive coordinator, please see the Coordinate a Food Drive section of our website. For other volunteer opportunities, please contact Volunteer Coordinator.

If you have ideas or suggestions for other fundraising events that The Food Bank of Waterloo Region could take part in, please let us know. Send your ideas to The Food Bank.

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Quick Facts about The Food Bank

  • The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is a charitable organization. "Through community partnerships, we obtain and distribute emergency food from our neighbours for our neighbours."
  • With the assistance of 82 member agencies and food programs in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the surrounding Townships of Wilmot, Woolwich, Wellesley and North Dumfries, and the help of over 2000 volunteers, we are able to assist approximately 36,000 different individuals in Waterloo Region each year.
  • In 2013, approximately 4,700,000 lbs of emergency food was distributed through emergency food hampers programs (91,796 hampers), meal programs (522,327 meals), and housing shelters.
  • $20 provides food for a family of 4 for 4 days; $100 equals a day without hunger for over 80 men, women and children.
  • There is a growing need for emergency food from people on fixed incomes, the elderly and people working in low paying positions.
  •  In 2013, families represented 46% of emergency food hamper recipients. 37% of recipients were children under the age of 18.

    The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is an active participant in the Ontario Association of Food Banks and Food Banks Canada. Our charitable registration number is 11923 3310 RR0001.

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