Food for Thought Blog

Fresh Approaches – Spring 2022

May 6th, 2022Fresh Approaches Newsletter


Executive message

Message from Wendi

Dear Friends,

I’m humbled and awed by your kindness and your generosity. Thanks for giving to make sure that hungry, vulnerable people living in our community have enough fresh, nutritious food to eat.

Your kindness does so much more than you can even imagine! You lift people up during some of the darkest, scariest moments of their lives. You let them know there are people who care, people who will give whatever they can to bring a smile to their face and some hope into their hearts.

I want to give a big shout out to our wonderful EAT 365 supporters, who last year helped provide more than 1.7 million meals to people in our community! EAT 365 members give an affordable gift each and every month. It’s convenient and cost-effective for them, and it provides us with a reliable source of funding, which helps so much when it comes to planning our food purchases each month.

Our goal is to provide 2 million meals this year — and we’re getting so close. I invite you to join the challenge if you haven’t yet!

This issue of your Fresh Approaches newsletter features articles designed to show the impact of your giving. Thank you again for your generosity and support! I’m truly honoured to continue working with compassionate friends like you to make sure everyone in our community has enough fresh, healthy food to eat.

Yours with deep thanks,

Wendi Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Crucial connections:
The link between food insecurity and mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening worries over food insecurity – the inability to access enough nutritious food because of financial constraints. More households are running out of food before they have enough money to buy more. Unable to afford healthy meals, these families and individuals are turning to local food banks for support.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region has seen an 80 per cent increase in the number of new households served over the past three months, a record high since the start of the spread of COVID-19. However, the rise in precarious work, housing unaffordability, and systemic oppression have been contributing to rising food insecurity for years prior to the pandemic, with poverty being the biggest barrier.

Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of depression, stress,  and anxiety. A Stats Can study shows the number of people surveyed who reported poor mental health was higher among people in households with moderate or severe food insecurity. These households are often forced to make difficult and stressful decisions due to low or fixed incomes, such as having to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.

There is also a sense of shame, which can significantly impact someone’s feeling of social acceptance. For those who need them, food assistance programs provide a great sense of belonging. The Community Food Assistance Network, a system of 100+ community programs and agency partners, provides food and connection to other supports needed by children, seniors, families and individuals in Waterloo Region.

Last year, the network served 34,620 individuals. One in 20 households in Waterloo Region accessed an emergency food assistance program. Nearly half of the people who depend on the food bank are single, and 75 per cent of them are renters. With your help, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region can continue to make sure no one goes hungry and offer a sense of community for those who need it most.

— Helen Fishburn, CEO Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington; Wendi Campbell, CEO The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Reducing food waste: a top priority at The Food Bank


Easy Ways to reduce food waste


Tips for your successful food and fund drive

Are you interested in running a food and fund drive to help our hungry neighbours? Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Pick your theme: there are so many fun theme ideas you can come up with. You could do a tacky shirt or tie tournament, a spare change drive, a video game tournament and more!

Register your drive: visit the link below to register so we can support you along the way!

Custom donation page: if you think you’ll raise money online, we can create a custom donation page for you with a unique, friendly URL for you to share.

Marketing materials: we can provide you with food drive boxes and posters, or you can create your own! Check out the Download & Extra Information Guides section on our website.

Set a meal goal: whether you’re raising food or funds or both, we encourage you to set a meal goal to show the direct impact of your efforts! Remember that $1 = 3 meals and 1.28 pounds = 1 meal.

Drop it off: we really appreciate it if you drop your collected donations at The Food Bank distribution warehouse at 50 Alpine Court, Kitchener, ON. If that’s not possible, please contact before your event ends about the possibility of pickup.

Thanks so much for considering running a food or fund drive! For more detailed tips, visit


Mobile Pantry Helps Neighbours Nourish Neighbours

Every Wednesday, the Mobile Pantry is on-site at the Stanley Park Community Centre to distribute emergency food hampers to neighbours in need. The Mobile Pantry which launched in 2021, expands the safe distribution, access, and availability of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable food to neighbourhood programs, when and where it is needed most.

In sight of the Mobile Pantry, is a beautiful blooming community garden and the smells of freshly prepared meals linger in the air as volunteers from the Stanley Park Community Association provide food assistance to community members. This is just one example of emergency food assistance in our community. In Waterloo Region, there are 100+
community programs and agency partners – known as the Community Food Assistance Network – working together to provide access to emergency food and other vital supports. For the last number of months, the Stanley Park Community Association has been cooking up delicious meals for community members in need of food assistance. A team of dedicated volunteers, known as Stanley Park Eats, have been donating their time and talents to sustain the program, even engaging with local chefs to develop nutritious and delicious menu items. Since August 2021, the Mobile Pantry has complimented the meal program at the Community Centre by providing access to emergency food hampers.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region provides the community centre with fresh, frozen, and non-perishable foods on a weekly basis. The Food Bank also deploys the Mobile Pantry which is equipped with fridges and freezers so that emergency food hampers are kept at a safe temperature and all food safety guidelines are followed.

“The Stanely Park Community Centre has become a place where neighbours have come together to support neighbours,” said Cindy Hanby, Community Centre

What started as a conversation and a shared vision to provide emergency food assistance has evolved into a community led initiative supported and made possible by the generous contributions of community members and The Food Bank. The Stanley Park Community Centre and other neighbourhood food assistance programs offer a familiar and comfortable location for community members to access services. Without having to leave their neighbourhood, community members in need of food assistance, know that local supports are available and referrals to