Food for Thought Blog
What a year! Here’s how we made a difference together!
As the holiday season quickly approaches, it is important to take this time to reflect on the past year and appreciate what our organization and partners have been able to accomplish during this difficult time.
With the pandemic continuing to impact the labour market and the economy as a whole, demand for The Food Bank of Waterloo Region’s services hit an all-time high this year. As detailed in our Community Impact Report, we saw a 26 per cent increase in food distribution and a 36 per cent increase in food hamper use. Responding to this increased need was made even more challenging by the fact that we limited access to our facility to essential workers for the safety and protection of our staff, volunteers and the community.
Despite these challenges, we are so proud of the fact that there were no delays in service delivery or food distribution. Our staff, volunteers and the Community Food Assistance Network worked tirelessly to ensure residents of Waterloo Region received the help that they needed. We were also able to launch new programming, including the Mobile Pantry which provides fresh food to vulnerable households in high-needs neighbourhoods, bringing flexibility to food distribution across the region.
A snapshot of our 2021 accomplishments:
- 6.8 million pounds of food distributed to the Community Food Assistance Network, a system of 100+ community organizations providing food and support to those in need.
- 91,660 food hampers delivered by partners in the Community Food Assistance Network.
- 34,620 people served.
- 13,957 households that received food assistance.
- 1.4 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed.
- 89,247 pounds of fresh, frozen and dry food repackaged.
All of this was made possible thanks to the support of our donors, partners, sponsors and community members. We also received financial support from our donors, as well as from the COVID-19 response and recovery, Region of Waterloo Food Assistance Network and other community partners.
We also could not have made this year a success without the help and support of our staff and volunteers. Due to public health protocols, our volunteer team was down 85 per cent this year, from over 3,300 to just 516 people, who worked day and night to make sure residents of Waterloo Region did not go hungry. Our Community Food Assistance Network was also invaluable in distributing food to locations all across the region that we would never have been able to reach on our own. The network also provides essential support when it comes to housing, shelter, family crises, job loss and so much more.
While we are incredibly proud of our team, our partners and our community for getting us through these difficult times, there is still much work to be done in tackling food insecurity across the Region. Whether it is improving accessibility to healthy food or addressing labour and employment-related challenges, or advocating for social assistance reform, we have to remain steadfast in our commitment to reducing the need for food banks across Canada. With the rising cost of living, skyrocketing housing costs and increasing food prices, things are not going to get any easier for our most vulnerable residents. We need to work together to identify and address the root causes of food insecurity and ensure no one in this community gets left behind.
If you would like to donate to The Food Bank, click here
If you are interested in joining our supportive team of volunteers, click here
If you require food assistance, click here