Food for Thought Blog

Fresh Approaches – Spring 2021

May 10th, 2021Newsletters


Executive Message

Message from Wendi Campbell

Dear Caring Neighbours,

Thank you so much for giving from your heart to provide food to our most vulnerable community members, those struggling with food insecurity, addiction, mental illness and unaffordable housing.

Your gifts help acquire and distribute fresh and healthy food to community agencies across Waterloo Region to help those in desperate need.

You already know that the need has increased since the pandemic began. We’re distributing about 21% more food and our trucks are heading out each week packed
to capacity.

Your amazing generosity has sustained The Food Bank of Waterloo Region throughout this crisis. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without you by our side. I hope you’ll read through the articles in this newsletter knowing you are a large part of the process involved in bringing fresh and nutritious food to hungry people.

You’re giving more than just food! You’re giving hope for a brighter tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to be there for your neighbours as we all look towards a healthier, more hopeful, future.

With deep gratitude,

Wendi Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Composition of fruits and vegetables in rainbow colors

Eating healthy at home

Tips for eating healthy with family and friends:
  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.

Keeping it fresh

Twice around the world in our own backyard
Q&A – Kyle Strong, Manager of Transportation and Logistics

Kyle Strong has been our Manager of Transportation and Logistics for almost 2 years. He works hard to ensure all the food that comes into our warehouse gets distributed as quickly as possible to the people who need it most, with the least amount of waste.

Kyle couldn’t do this without you!

Interviewer: Can you talk about the importance of food safety at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

Kyle: Yes, it’s so much more than simply ensuring the food doesn’t spoil or grow bacteria that could cause illness, although that is certainly important. But, when you know that this package of ground beef, for instance, is going to be the basis of a warm and healthy meal for an entire family – you can just imagine how devastating it would be for that family if the meat spoiled before it could be used. The same goes for all of the food we deliver. This is emergency food, going to people in need, who just can’t run back out to the store and grab another item to replace it. This is all they have. If it goes bad, they have nothing else.

Interviewer: How do you ensure food safety during delivery?

Kyle: It’s a very involved process! Like any business working with food, we have to follow the Safe Food for Canadians Act, which lays out rules and regulations for keeping each type of food a safe temperature throughout transport and distribution. It starts with having the right kind of refrigerated trucks to keep the temperature regulated. You can imagine, on a hot summer day we need to keep the food cold during several delivery stops, with time taken to unload at each agency site. On the other hand, on a freezing cold day, we might need to warm up the truck a bit to ensure everything stays at the right temperature.
Food safety and temperature regulation is top of mind right from how we pack the order, to how it is loaded onto the trucks and then unloaded at the agency. Our drivers work in the warehouse and pack their own deliveries so they have a sense of pride and ownership in ensuring each delivery makes it to the destination fresh and ready to distribute to hungry people.

Interviewer: How has the pandemic affected the way The Food Bank of Waterloo Region delivers food?

Kyle: It’s affected a lot! Before COVID, we had many community programs and agency partners who would come to pick up their food from our warehouse. Now we deliver to those programs and agencies. We’re assisting with food delivery and distribution in areas we didn’t before – areas with increased need. We’re also delivering a lot more food to each program and agency than we did before, as the need has greatly increased. We’ve added a truck and increased the size of some of the trucks we were using before as we now have to fit more food and more deliveries on each truck than we ever did before.

Interviewer: How do generous donors help you in the delivery process?

Kyle: We simply couldn’t do any of this without our donors! They support the entire process, keeping the trucks maintained and in good working order, keeps our operations running smoothly and they help us purchase the best quality foods for the best prices. I can’t thank them enough!

Why I Give

The Reverend Robert and Emily Leland

“We give monthly because the continues every month!”

The Reverend Robert Leland and his wife, Emily Leland, have been loyal supporters of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region for the past 21 years. Charitable giving is an integral part of Robert and Emily’s faith, and they feel particularly strong about providing food to the most vulnerable in our community.

Robert says, “In 2016, we made the choice to split our usual annual gift into manageable monthly amounts. Each year we increase the monthly amount to help
offset rising costs.”

When asked why they choose to switch to monthly giving, Robert says, “the expenses continue each month and so does the need.” Emily notes that “it also helps with budgeting when you have a manageable amount coming out each month rather than several larger payments at the end of the year.”

When asked why they agreed to share their story, Robert says, “We hope others will join us and consider a monthly gift. We’re so proud to be a part of such a dynamic and effective provider of food to those in need.”

Our Community in Action

Opentext: “Enough is a Feast”

This year marks OpenText’s 30th anniversary, and the company has a long history of supporting The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. We sat down with Julie Millard, VP, Corporate Citizenship of OpenText to chat more about why the Waterloo based company gives back to fight food insecurity.

Julie says, “Our CEO, Mark Barrenechea, often reminds us that ‘Enough is a Feast’. We all have enough, and it’s more vital now than ever to give back. It’s always been our company’s motto to do good, while doing well. Step back to late fall 2020, the holiday season was approaching, and we realized our teams couldn’t and wouldn’t be celebrating the holidays together. As an organization, we made the decision to redirect the celebration budget to food banks in the communities where employees live and work. That was the launch of the OpenText Voyager Fund – $1 million commitment to fight food insecurity.”

Specifically, in Waterloo, on behalf of their 1,200 employees, OpenText contributed $125k to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Giving back in the communities where employees live and work is truly the OpenText way!

“We have a responsibility to local communities. We are in this for the long term as a company. It’s our responsibility to make sure that the communities are thriving, employees are thriving and the environment is thriving. We take that very seriously as a responsibility in the community.” 

Thank you to OpenText and all of your staff, for giving back to help people in this community!

To read more about OpenText’s commitment to The Food Bank: