As I take time to reflect on the last year and write this message to you – our incredible community of donors, food industry partners, sponsors, and volunteers – I am overcome with gratitude.
It was a difficult year; unlike anything we’ve experienced before. We faced several unique and unexpected challenges, which led to significant shifts in our day-to-day operations. From streamlining service delivery to help flatten the curve in the early days, to pre-packing emergency food hampers on-site, to managing increases in transportation and food needs. We adapted and evolved to ensure the consistent availability of emergency food to people in need in our community.
To prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, volunteers, and the community, we also made the decision to limit access to our facility to only essential workers. This meant we had less people power on-site to sort food donations, pre-pack emergency hampers, and help with the increased transportation needs. Despite the reduction in on-site staff and volunteers, everyone worked tirelessly to ensure we didn’t miss a beat. I am proud to say, there were no delays in service delivery and food was consistently distributed to the Community Food Assistance Network.
And we couldn’t have done it without you.
Whether it was financial or food donations, hosting socially distanced events, or donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), you went above and beyond to show your support and commitment to ensure no one goes hungry in Waterloo Region. Thank you.
Your generosity also supported the Community Food Assistance Network Capacity Fund – a program that allocated financial donations from various fundraising initiatives executed by The Food Bank to the Community Food Assistance Network. As part of the Community Food Assistance Network Capacity Fund, we allocated more than $500,000 to community programs and agency partners that were significantly impacted by the pandemic, ensuring they were able to remain operational and continue serving the community. These funds helped pay rent, utilities, as well as support technology enhancements, staffing, transportation needs, and food storage.
While much of our focus last year remained on navigating the pandemic and adapting to meeting community needs, we also developed and launched some exciting new programs, such as the Mobile Pantry.
Generously funded by an Ontario Trillium Foundation Capital Grant, the Mobile Pantry expands the safe distribution, access, and availability of fresh food to economically vulnerable households in high-needs neighbourhoods throughout Waterloo Region.
Launched in March 2021 by The Food Bank, the Mobile Pantry operates in collaboration with members of the Community Food Assistance Network and provides flexibility in how, where, and when a program operates and distributes food.
As you read through the Community Impact Report, I hope you see the ways you have allowed us to pivot and adapt throughout the pandemic and support our mission of ensuring no one goes hungry. While we may not know what the future has in store, we know that with your support we can tackle hunger in our community.
As always, thank you. Together, we are feeding neighbours.
CEO, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
Through community partnerships, we obtain and distribute emergency food from our neighbours for our neighbours.
To channel our community’s energy so no one goes hungry.