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 we serve, is situated on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. Today, this land is home to Indigenous people from across Turtle Island.
The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is on Dish With One Spoon territory. In living, working and gathering on this land, we have a responsibility to honour the Dish With One Spoon Wampum, an agreement made long ago between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee. It is our responsibility to peacefully share what we have with our community, to take only what we need, and to keep the land and water clean for future generations.
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. 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.
We recognize that Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. Approximately 33 percent of urban Indigenous households are food insecure – which means they don’t always have access to healthy and affordable food. This inequality is a result of colonial laws in Canada which: forced communities away from their traditional homes and sources of food; intentionally malnourished Indigenous children; intentionally make it difficult for Indigenous communities to be self-sufficient; and allow Indigenous communities, including their food and water sources, to be polluted by industry.
We acknowledge that social services have played an active role in colonization, and the attempted cultural genocide of Indigenous people. The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is committed to taking part in reconciliation in a meaningful way.
Learn about our staff and why they are passionate about their work:
519-622-6550 Ext. 103
(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
519-622-6550 Ext. 209
519-622-6550 Ext. 206
519-622-6550 Ext. 220
519-622-6550 Ext. 106
Board and 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.
2019-20 Board of Directors
Kristen Danson – Chair
Jen Germann-Wright – Vice Chair
Heather Van Patter – Vice Chair
Nancy Mason – Treasurer
It’s been a year of growth at the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank. Read our 2019/2020 Impact Report to learn about the need in our community, new supports and services we are creating, and all the ways we are Feeding Community.
Click here to view the Feeding Families, Feeding Hope: 2019/2020 Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank Impact Report
Click here to view the 2019/2020 Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank Audited Financial Statements