A new report released today entitled Food Banks Canada COVID-19 Response Fund Impact Report shows how Canadians came together in record numbers to help food banks across Canada continue to be there for Canadians during the first year of the pandemic.
Food Banks Canada’s $150M COVID-19 Response Fund was established early in the pandemic to provide centralized messaging and support for operational resources, food and funding to support community-based organizations who help Canadians living with food insecurity.
The new report shows that during the first year of the pandemic, Food Banks Canada delivered almost $150 million in help, including a record 34 million pounds of nutritious food and $97,988,170 in financial support to community organizations in 4,715 communities located in all of Canada’s provinces and territories.
Food Banks: There for Canadians
“When the pandemic struck, Canada’s food banks were tested like never before, facing an ever-changing series of challenging circumstances,” explains Chris Hatch, Food Banks Canada’s CEO. “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians, small and large national businesses, private and family foundations and government helped us continue our work to be there for Canadians”.
Hatch says one of the most challenging pandemic changes was that many food banks had to switch from “grocery store shopping” formats to hampers, home delivery and drive-thrus to keep staff, volunteers and clients safe.
According to the new report:
7.8 million pounds of food was delivered via 390,000 hampers
22% of organizations introduced drive and walk thru services and pop-ups
67% of food banks and community organizations pivoted to provide home delivery
The Food Banks Canada COVID-19 Response Fund report credits an unprecedented $97.9 million in donations from individuals, businesses, and government grants which helped food banks continue to provide food and cover additional pandemic expenses, including:
-PPE (masks, hand sanitizers for food bankers on the frontlines — and for clients)
-Reconfiguring food bank operations to be COVID-compliant; additional warehouse and/or cooler spaces and supporting safe client pick up exchange spaces
-Staffing costs to help offset loss of volunteers related to lockdown’s
-Local food purchases to complement donations and directed support beyond FBC
-Increased demand for services – particularly in urban areas and the North
Count on Canada
Hatch says when 65% of the nation’s food banks faced severe food shortages, partnerships with Canadian farmers, food companies, private and corporate donors and the Federal Government Surplus Food Rescue Program were essential to help Food Banks Canada continue to provide for the already existing 1.1 million visits to Canadian food banks every month AND for higher numbers of new clients, due to the pandemic.
As part of Food Banks Canada’s COVID-19 Response Fund the Federal Government’s Surplus Food Rescue Program and private donors helped to provide:
-2.9 million pounds of milk, cheese, and yogurt in partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Canada
-5 million pounds of frozen meat and eggs were delivered to communities
-18.5 million pounds of purpose manufactured, private label goods were produced to provide stability in supply to community food banks and food programs
“We want our neighbours who are experiencing food insecurity to know they can count on Canada, and they can count on us,” sums up Hatch. “Communities can count on food banks today in an emergency situation – and they can continue to count on us to advocate for policy changes that will mean that one day food banks will no longer be needed. We are committed to a Canada where no one goes hungry.”
About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network from coast-to-coast-to-coast. For 40 years, food banks have been dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. Over 3,000 food banks and community agencies come together to serve our most vulnerable neighbours who – last year – made 1.1 million visits to these organizations in one month alone, according to our HungerCount report. Over the past 10 years, as a system we’ve sourced and shared over 1.4 billion pounds of food and Food Banks Canada shared nearly $168 million in funding to help maximize collective impact and strengthen local capacity – while advocating for reducing the need for food banks. Our vision is clear: create a Canada where no one goes hungry.