Food for Thought Blog

Fresh Approaches – Summer 2020

June 5th, 2020Fresh Approaches Newsletter

Click here to download the Summer 2020 Newsletter

Executive Message

Message from Wendi

COVID-19 has impacted all our lives in one way or another. But for people who were struggling before the pandemic hit, everything they knew — how to get a meal, where to access a washroom facility, how to connect socially — has changed dramatically.

The pandemic presents a huge threat for people at risk of falling through the cracks as they try to cope with food
insecurity, addiction, mental illness and unaffordable housing.

Over the next few months, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region will be tackling some of the toughest challenges this community has ever faced. But I’m so encouraged by the way our staff and partners are rising to the challenge.

With your support, we have taken a lead role in the Region’s emergency pandemic plan. And by focusing on prepared meals and emergency hampers, we’re able to ensure that
essential food support services will continue throughout this crisis and beyond.

In these unprecedented times, I can’t imagine how we’d feed our hungry neighbours without you.

Thank you.

Wendi Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Did You Know?

Full Bellies. Happy Hearts.

Feeding Children during this Crisis, and Beyond

School closures in mid-March have done much more than throw children and teens into a world of uncertainty.

Months earlier than expected, a safety net has been pulled out from under thousands of kids who rely on regular breakfasts, lunches and snacks at school, and who now don’t have the comfort of knowing where their next meal will come from.

Their families are fearful not only about the immediate crisis, but also how the coming months — even years — will look financially.

“We know there are a wide range of government supports available to families who have lost jobs or whose business may have downsized,” says CEO Wendi Campbell.

“What we don’t know yet is the long-term impact of this pandemic. There will be people on the edge as they navigate what’s next for their families. And we are here to make sure no one goes hungry at this time or in the future.”

The Food Bank is responding to the increased demand for food assistance with Full Bellies. Happy Hearts., a community-wide initiative to raise 1/2 million meals this summer.

A matching gift from Allan Bush of CIBC Woody Gundy, Waterloo, will ensure that all gifts, up to $20,000, will double in impact.

As the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into summer and beyond, food support is the peace of mind we can all give. Thank you for doing what you can to help.

""I just can't accept that thousands of children don't know where their next meal is coming from. That's why I'm going to match every dollar you give until August 31st.""

Allan Bush
CIBC Wood Gundy, Waterloo


During a health emergency like COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Here are a few things you can do to stay healthy:

1. Eat the rainbow. Choose from a variety of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables that contain many important nutrients to help our bodies fight disease.

2. Use what you’ve got. Fruits and vegetables don’t always need to be fresh to be healthy. Canned fruits and vegetables can be rinsed and drained to reduce the added sugar and salt content.

3. Make it easy for yourself. Frozen fruits and vegetables are easy, healthy and keep longer, which helps reduce food waste.


The Power of Community in a Pandemic

In response to COVID-19, The Food Bank adjusted operations and activated the Community Food Assistance Network Pandemic Business Continuity Plan, in cooperation with the Region of Waterloo, to ensure the continuation of essential services while minimizing health risks.

There are 30 community programs and agency partners within the Community Food Assistance Network that have been identified as vital service programs, which have continued to operate during the state of emergency. These programs implemented additional health and safety practices to limit the risk of exposure in our community, and expanded their capacity to support the increased demand for food.

The Food Bank focused all energy and support on the vital service programs that have stepped up to ensure emergency food continues to be delivered in our community during the pandemic.

For instance, St. John’s Kitchen initially had to close, which left hundreds of people without
a place to access a lunch meal. The shift in our focus meant pivoting to provide prepared
meals and bagged lunches for shelter and residential programs – averaging over 9,500
prepared meals per week during the height of the pandemic. Even though we’re in a state
of emergency, food programs still exist. How people access them just looks a little different.

Financial donations are critical right now to help fill the gaps in inventory and maintain operations to ensure nutritious meals get to everyone who needs them.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is unable to accept food donations in the same way we normally do. Your financial support will help the people in our community confronting food insecurity during this crisis. Please give online



Why I Give

Amichai Tsarfati believes it’s important to give back to your community

“We live in such an amazing place, in an amazing time, and we have so much,” says Amichai. “I think it’s important that we take care of our friends and neighbours.”

A monthly donor who has been giving to The Food Bank for over seven years, Amichai believes strongly in fighting food insecurity. “I’m very fortunate that I grew up in Canada. I come from a long line of refugees and those who’ve needed help,” he explains. “Giving is a very important thing for me to do, especially because I have the capacity to give.”

To join our Monthly Donor Community and help feed neighbours year-round, call us at 519.743.5576 ext. 227 or visit to sign up.

"“It's important that we take care of our friends and neighbours.""

Amichai Tsarfati
Vice-President & General Manager of Joseph & Company


The Savvas Chamberlain Family Foundation makes a difference

When The Savvas Chamberlain Family Foundation was created in 2011, they knew supporting The Food Bank would be an important focus in fulfilling their mission.

“The Food Bank, through its fundraising, food acquisition and distribution channels, is the heart of the network of organizations on the front lines providing an essential service to less fortunate families and individuals,” says Christine Chamberlain, Director.

“I know our support allows The Food Bank and the Community Food Assistance Network to continue to deliver much-needed food to those who need it, and assists them in attracting additional financial donations to support their operations and financial health.”

Through their donations to The Food Bank, The Savvas Chamberlain Family Foundation has provided over 480,000 meals in Waterloo Region. They also played a significant role in
funding the necessary equipment for the Fresh Approaches Food Centre – helping The Food Bank bring their vision to life.

Christine encourages others to join their family’s foundation in supporting The Food Bank: “There are people in our community who need our help,” she explains. “The Food Bank is one of the best places where your donation can make a difference!”