With the challenges that come from a global pandemic, places like The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (FBWR) have been hit harder than ever before as the need for food resources in the region grows.
“Since March 2020, we have seen an increased need for emergency food assistance throughout the Community Food Assistance Network,” said an impact report provided by Jennifer Judges, Communication Specialist at the FBWR.
The Food Assistance Network is a system of more than 100 community programs and agency partners that help provide food across the region, including the Conestoga Student Inc. Food Bank, a food support resource for students at Conestoga College.
“Students struggling financially or in a tough situation needing emergency food support are encouraged and invited to apply to use the CSI Food Bank,” said Sam Rubi, Campus Service Coordinator at Conestoga College.
Students wishing to use the CSI Food Bank must complete a Food Relief form to determine if they are eligible for the service.
“At the CSI Food Bank, we implement a Pick-Your-Own system where students have the liberty to choose 10 from the 12 food items we offer,” Rubi said. “This hamper provides approximately a three-day supply of a combination of non-perishable & perishable healthy food items. In addition, students will also receive a single $15 PC gift card that can be used at any Loblaw stores.”
The CSI Food Bank has also seen increased demand since the start of the pandemic, with the number of food hampers distributed rising to 1,477 last year from the 1,068 in the 2019-2020 school year, Rubi said.
With the demand for food support during the pandemic growing, places like the FBWR are looking to the community for help.
“There is a consistent need for emergency food assistance in Waterloo Region and there are many ways that people can help,” Judges said.
People who wish to support the food bank during the pandemic are encouraged to host their own Food & Fund Drive either online or in-person, following social distancing protocols. Registration for Food & Fund Drives can be found here.
Financial donations to the FBWR fill gaps in inventory, purchase items in bulk, keep delivery vehicles on the road, and support the expansion and development of new programs throughout Waterloo Region.
Because of the pandemic, the CSI food bank is not accepting food donations to ensure the safety of food items. However, monetary donations are welcomed. To make a donation visit, Food drive – CSI Food Bank – The Food Bank of Waterloo Region or contact Sam Rubi at email@example.com.
“We are fortunate to live in a very generous community and are thankful to receive the support of the community throughout the entire year,” Judges said.