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, 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:
519-622-6550 Ext. 205
519-622-6550 Ext. 101
(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
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017-18 Board of Directors
Jeff Darroch – Chair
Jen Germann Wright – Vice Chair
Bob Domjan – Treasurer
Lina Veglia – Secretary
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!