About / Our History

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank offers food and support to people and community groups in need within Cambridge and North Dumfries.

We encourage self-reliance through programs and services.

Our Vision: Every person will have access to healthy food and opportunities for growth.

Our Values Statement: We respect all people equally.

We strive to:

  • Encourage a sense of community
  • Extend a caring hand
  • Develop each person’s unique strengths and life skills

We conduct ourselves to:

  • Actively seek community partnerships
  • Use our resources efficiently
  • Honour everyone’s right to confidentiality

History & Hunger


The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank first opened its doors in 1985 in response to a severe economic recession. At the time, the only available help for Cambridge residents was church based programs and soup kitchens.

The establishment of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank was inspirited by three very socially conscious men living in high density neighbourhoods.  Recognizing the need for food assistance, they began by going to the Saturday market and collecting unsold fruits and vegetables. Loading up the trunks of their cars, they then returned to their neighbourhoods for distribution.

The organization was founded by members of social services, community, religious organizations, a lawyer, and several community members. This group of people wanted to change the way people living below the poverty line were viewed, and allow them to access food when needed.

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank serves the City of Cambridge and Township of North Dumfries, which together have a population of approximately 145,000. Over 1,600 individuals and families are helped each month, and we distribute food to 26 community organizations.

The Food Bank employs twelve full-time and ten part-time staff; however volunteers are the key of our success. Our volunteers consist of adults, students, community assigned workers, and individuals on work placements. Over 1,000 volunteers contribute hours to our organization every year.

This Food Bank believes that a person’s dignity and self-respect are paramount and that everyone has something valuable to contribute. We work to overcome the stigma of utilizing a food bank. Our goal is to have everyone walking out feeling better than when they came in.

Our mission is to offer additional food products and assistance to residents in need. We work to foster self-reliance by offering educational opportunities, job training, and one-on-one emotional support.

We are dedicated not only to feeding people in our community, but also to helping to build our community.

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is a proud Living Wage employer at the “Champion” level. We believe that as an organization supporting people experiencing poverty, we must lead by example and ensure that anyone employed by our organization earns a living wage.

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is a member of the Ontario Association of Food Banks and Food Banks Canada. We are also an integral part of the Waterloo Region Community Food Assistance Network.

Land Acknowledgement

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, and the community that we serve, is situated on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee peoples. We express our gratitude and appreciation to the Indigenous people who have been living and working on this land from time immemorial. Today, this land is home to Indigenous people from across Turtle Island.

In addition to our expression of gratitude, we recognize the past and current contexts of colonialism, so that we may build stronger relationships, aware of the history and treaties we are all party to.

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, and the community that we serve, is located on the Haldimand Tract, which on October 25, 1784, after the American Revolutionary War of Independence, was given to the Six Nations of the Grand River by the British as compensation for their role in the war and for the loss of their traditional lands in Upstate New York (www.sixnations.ca). Of the 950,000 acres given to the Haudenosaunee (six miles on either side of the Grand River, all the way along its length), only 46,000 acres (less than 5 per cent) remains Six Nations land.

This land acknowledgement has been adapted from this resource provided by LSPIRG.


Learn about our staff and why they are passionate about their work:


Street Outreach Worker

519-622-6550 Ext. 116


Program Coordinator

#WhyCSHFB: I feel it is a privilege to walk alongside people in our community; the food bank allows me to do so without requiring anything in return of the people we serve. I was fortunate to meet people along my journey that changed the trajectory of my life and my work here allows me to honour them in a way that is meaningful.

519-622-6550 Ext. 205


Executive Assistant/Administration

#WhyCSHFB: In my role as a Fundraiser, I highlight the awesome work that my colleagues do in our community, and spend time connecting with our donors and supporters. In doing this, I hope to secure the resources our organization needs to continue its mission! As an administrator, I want to create a calm and welcoming office, and ensure the day to day operations are running smoothly so that our wonderful team of generous and kind people can focus on the inspiring work they are doing in our community.

519-622-6550 Ext. 101



#WhyCSHFB: When I come up the stairs each day and I read the writing on the wall at the top of the stairs I am always reminded of why I keep coming back. For me that pretty much captures my purpose in life.
(The writing says: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” – Matthew 25:35-36)

519-622-6550 Ext. 119


Food Procurement & Local Food Development Manager

#WhyCSHFB: As a staff member at the CSHFB, I have been given the incredible gift of being able to work alongside other equally passionate humans all working every day to create a world that is based on caring, listening and lending a hand (not a demeaning hand-out).

In my role as Food Procurement and Local Food Development Manager, I am able to consider a broader vision of community, eco-social sustainability and food security that supports the incredible work already happening at CSHFB while also fostering exciting new growth in our relationships with traditional food donors and in our local food sector.

For me, food is a vehicle for eco-social transformation. Food is at the heart of our security and our health and people are in danger when they do not have access to it. Research shows us that food insecurity is a social determinant of health – poor nutrition causes problems that cross the life cycle and every negative health condition we can imagine is linked to food insecurity. Poverty also has jarring ecological, social and economic consequences. We simply have to respond.

My role with the CSHFB over the last 5 seasons has fostered work that is responsive, innovative and solution-based. It is work that I am passionate about, proud of and committed to continuing. As a mom, I feel it is my duty to help build the kind of wold I want my child to experience – and my work with CSHFB allows me to manifest this mission. I am forever grateful.

519-622-6550 Ext. 206


Fundraising & Special Events

519-622-6550 Ext. 206


Co-op & Warehouse Assistant

#WhyCSHFB: As a co-op coordinator and warehouse assistant, I stream line the food between the co-op and 3 off sites. I strive to create a positive and happy work environment for all of my colleagues and especially our wonderful volunteers that help our organization run. Without this great group of fantastic individuals, there is no way that our food bank could exist as the bright light of hope in our community.

519-622-6550 Ext. 114


Street Outreach

#WhyCSHFB: As a Street Outreach worker I strive to build supportive relationships by meeting folks where they’re at; free of stigma and judgment. Through compassion, understanding and the inherit belief that every individual has value, I have been given the opportunity to help provide support to those I walk alongside. I believe sincerity and empathy go a long way and I’m humbled by the resilience and strength of the people I meet.

519-622-6550 Ext. 207


Spiritual Care

#WhyCSHFB: “Have you ever felt that all hope in your life has disappeared or have you stood on the margins of life?” I have. Fortunately, my voice has always been heard and people have responded. As I enter the Food Bank each morning I hope I can be one of the people that hears that quiet voice in the wilderness, “someone please help.”

519-622-6550 Ext. 212



#WhyCSHFB: As one of the coordinators of the co-op program at CSHFB I provide support for individuals and families that offers hope, dignity, respect and opportunity in their lives while providing a way to stretch their food budget. I have the privilege every day of working for an organization that fills my soul.

519-622-6550 Ext. 114


Warehouse Coordinator

#WhyCSHFB: I am here to ensure that the supply chain to the community is as robust as possible. To coordinate and manage donations, deliveries and distribution of foodstuffs to and from many different types of community involved organizations. It is my mission (and the mission of all at the food bank) to provide a diversity of high quality food options to those community members who most need it. Finally I believe in this organization in a way I’ve never experienced working for any other company. The public focused mentality of the food bank is very attractive and the enthusiasm shown by the staff and volunteers alike is highly contagious.

519-622-6550 Ext. 105

Cameron Dearlove

Executive Director

#WhyCSHFB: I help to organize, enable, and support my team so that we can build a stronger, more interconnected community. Together, we walk with people hoping to make each day a little better.

519-622-6550 Ext. 103


Volunteer Services

#WhyCSHFB: Because I believe in volunteerism! I see the rewards to both our organization and the individuals who donate their time. I believe in our programs and services and want the staff to have support in their areas so they can run efficiently. Lastly, I know we couldn’t do this without our volunteers and I am thankful we have such a loyal group who work alongside us every day!

519-622-6550 Ext. 106


Emergency Food Program

#WhyCSHFB: I am here to ensure that the Emergency Room is clean, full, and as inviting as possible. I do this by providing our magnificent volunteers with the tools and support they require to send our participants on their way with enough food to fill their bellies and, hopefully, a more optimistic outlook.

519-622-6550 Ext. 100



#WhyCSHFB: I am here to ensure that all donations are picked up and delivered on time with a smile

519-622-6550 Ext. 209



#WhyCSHFB: I am grateful to work at the Cambridge food bank because every day I witness amazing feats of courage, strength and kindness. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and it takes a lot of courage to give it graciously without judgement. Hunger shows no discernment regardless of wealth and is a common denominator in the human experience. Times of crisis affect us all and hunger can gnaw away at us and our families. As a receptionist at Cambridge Self Help Food Bank It is my job to recognize the humanity in us all as I greet everyone through the door with a welcoming smile. There is no judgment. Open arms only, with a drive to “be the change I want to see in the world”. The Cambridge Food Bank, like hunger, has no discernment. It recognizes that there is value in all human life and endless opportunities when you respect it and foster it. I am proud to be with an organization that sets itself apart in its depth of caring to give access to healthy food and opportunities to those who seek them.

519-622-6550 Ext. 111

Board & Committees

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is an incorporated not-for-profit charitable organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors. We are so thankful to the committed volunteer directors and all of the time and energy they contribute towards helping our organization best serve our community.

If you are interested in joining our board of directors or one of our volunteer committees, please contact Tara at tcooper@cambridgefoodbank.on.ca.

2017-18 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Jeff Darroch – Chair
Jen Germann Wright – Vice Chair
Kristen Danson – Vice Chair
Bob Domjan – Treasurer
Lina Veglia & Ted Paling– Secretary


Heather Johnson
Ted Paling
Brian Hornick
Bill Todd
Jen Loker
Kristen Danson
Eileen Mathewson
Yasmine Mohamed
Kevin Moule

Annual Report 

Click here to view the 2017/18 Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank Annual Report

Click here to view the 2017/2018 Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank Audited Financial Statements

Work With Us

Thanks for your interest in working with the best team in town! While we don’t currently have any positions open, we invite you to check back in from time to time to see what is available.

Want to find out more about the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank and what it’s like to work here? Why not give volunteering a try and get to know us!