Over the last 35 years, Ontario's food banks have evolved from tradition food cupboards and pantries into multi-services spaces for community building and innovation. We encourage you to tour some of the food banks in our network through this interactive map, and join us as we work to FeedON, Feed Possibility, and Feed Change in Ontario. Feed Ontario is a province-wide network of over 1,200 direct and affiliate hunger-relief agencies that are united in their work to address and prevent poverty and hunger.
Through strong partnerships we support 100+ community programs and agency partners. We acquire and distribute more than 4.5 million pounds of food each year to 34,408 people in Waterloo Region accessing food assistance and connect them to other vital support across our community. Identifying a need for more fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region recently opened the Fresh Approaches Food Centre where staff and volunteers re-package large and bulk food donations into individual and family sized portions. Since September 2018, the Fresh Approaches Food Centre has distributed more than 34,000 pounds of fresh food.
East Wellington Community Services is a small but mighty organization. We recognize that there are unique challenges associated with living rural, especially for those without sufficient income to afford their basic necessities each month. In partnership with our community, our programs include a Community Garden, Older Adult Program, and Community Dinners. Our staff and volunteers work creatively and tirelessly to make use of innovative grants, to foster strong partnerships and to think outside of the box to address hunger and the social determinants of health.
The Unemployed Help Centre operates the Unifor Local 200 People’s Choice Pantry, a shopping store model food bank that allows visitors to sample food that has been prepared in our Caesars Cares Community Kitchen (just like the grocery store). Visitors to the food bank are able to access as much produce as they’d like, which is offered daily. As well as recipes and their ingredients, so that foods they’ve sampled can be made at home. The Unemployed Help Centre also operates as the Windsor and Essex Food Bank Association, acting as the hub for 15 food banks across the region.
Food security in Northwestern Ontario presents unique challenges and opportunities. We at the Thunder Bay Regional Food Distribution Association are committed to developing innovative ways to not only serve our member food banks in Thunder Bay, but throughout the entire region, including remote communities. We are dedicated to providing more fresh produce and healthier food to those who need it most. We also believe in giving a hand up, and not just a hand out. We provide training and volunteer opportunities to those who face barriers to employment, or who simply need skills for better independence. Our mantra is to Let No One Go Hungry.
The Ottawa Food Bank is committed to providing fresh and nutritious food to the over 37,000 clients who need emergency food every month in our city. In the summer months, most of our fruits and vegetables are grown on our own community harvest farm. Started in 2009 with funding from OAFB (now Feed Ontario), we grow over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce, on eight acres of donated land just west of the city. Over 1,000 volunteers help us plant, grow and harvest 16 different varieties of vegetables. We even have an army of pollinators in our own Ottawa Food Bank beehive. All this fresh produce goes from farm to table in about five days, ensuring everyone has access to the best food possible.
Guelph Food Bank is always looking for ways to support its diverse clientele and ensure equal access to food in its community. One way that this is accomplished is by collaborating with other local agencies that are connected through similar missions. In partnership with the local Red Cross, for example, the Guelph Food Bank developed the Red Cross Delivery program, which provides food support and service to individuals that are physically unable to access the food bank. In addition to ongoing food support, the Guelph Food Bank also provides job and placement programs, skill building workshops, clothing exchange, free income tax clinic, and a community garden.
Renfrew & District Food Bank serves Renfrew, Horton Township, and the villages of Burnstown and Douglas. Our goals are to help alleviate poverty by providing adequate emergency food supplies to our food bank’s visitors and to be an integral part of our local community.In addition to ongoing food support, Renfrew & District Food Bank has a new partnership with the Renfrew Public Library. According to our librarians, many kids and teens spend their days at the library in the summer. The idea is to provide a re-fuelling station for them, including access to healthy snacks and food that they can enjoy.
GBF Community Services provides food, housing, health and wellness services to help members of our community meet their basic needs. With the high living costs in Grimsby, the majority of our clients are spending 50% or more of their income on rent which leaves minimal income remaining to purchase basic necessities such as food. Our Rent Supplement Program provides eligible low- income households with assistance to ensure monthly rent is secure and paid in the private market. Currently, 72 households are registered in this program and $18,000 is invested on a monthly basis to help make housing costs more affordable.
Gleaners Food Bank has operated in Belleville community for over 33 years and is known as one of the greenest food banks in Canada. With operations that include a fully sustainable organic garden, rain harvesting, solar panels, and an ice bear energy system, Gleaners strives to reduce its carbon food print while providing its community with naturally grown and nutritious food. Gleaners food bank also operates Michelangelo’s Café - a volunteer run cafe that is a free and open to anyway wanting a hot cup of coffee, bagel, or some company. In 2018, Michelangelo’s Café served over 40,000 hot and cold drinks, over 13,000 sandwiches, and almost 20,000 pastry items. As Gleaners Food Bank puts it, “Everyone has the right to food security and an acceptable standard of living.”
Operation Harvest Sharing (the Brockville and Area Food Bank) was formed in 1985 in a church basement as a short term solution to the growing number of area residents suffering from hunger and food insecurity. Fast forward 34 years and you'll find the Brockville and Area Food Bank two blocks from our original home located in our own building complete with all of the equipment needed to offer healthy food choices to our families. The Brockville and Area Food Bank serves over 600 families every month. We offer snack pack programs for our children to help boost their nutritional intake, and support local cooking classes and meal programs with food and financial assistance. Home delivery is available for those in need. All of these activities are carried out by a dedicated group of volunteers who operate the food bank striving to realize our vision of A Hunger Free Community.
North York Harvest is the primary food bank for northern Toronto, providing dignified food support to 24,000 individuals annually. With a vision of a community where all members are able to meet their food needs, we believe it is important to also play an active role in contributing to long-term solutions. Leveraging our warehouse operation, we provide certified training to social assistance recipients as they learn on the job. The majority of the graduates have gone on to full-time employment. We place an emphasis on advocacy to ensure our clients’ voices are heard and their basic needs are met when socio-economic policies are being developed.
Hamilton Food Share is a one-of-a-kind food bank that operates as the community’s Emergency Food Distribution Centre, serving 12 food banks and seven meal programs across the city. With over 30,000 unique people counting on Hamilton’s food banks to feed their families last year alone, Hamilton Food Share’s food procurement policy is rooted in making nutrition a priority. As Hamilton Food Share puts it, “Food plays a central role in all of our lives. It enables children to learn and play. It helps us focus at work. Food nourishes, strengthens and connects us. Our mission is to provide much needed food items for households struggling with poverty today, while working to change social policy so that individuals and families no longer have a need for emergency food programs.”