In Awe: The Depth and Breadth of Service

It’s probably something about the type of people who want are helpers by nature, that we consistently feel like we’re not doing enough. That is part of what drives us, but can also leave us feeling frustrated, disappointed, and burnt out. That’s why every once in a while it’s important to have a moment like I had this morning.

I was at my desk, working on a funding application. The application form asks me to list our “Primary Activities, Services, and Programs.” I started typing, copying and pasting, and before I knew it I had this incredible list. A list to be in awe of. Within that list is so much nuance, so much work, so many staff and volunteer hours, so many donors, so many, so much…

I had a moment of awe at the amount that this team, this organization, does for this community, the many ways that we fill gaps and help people along. It may just feel like an everyday thing for many of you – all of you who make this organization tick in so many ways – but every once in a while I invite you to join me, to step back, and look at all of the things that we do.

It’s not just the breadth of service, it’s the depth of service. I think more important than what we provide, is how we provide it: without judgement, with generosity, with kindness and compassion, walking with, being of service.

Take a look at this list.


What are your organization’s primary activities, services or programs?

Deeply rooted in the communities we serve, we support people to access healthy food and opportunity. In our downtown Galt location, and with satellites in Hespeler, Preston, and Ayr, we operate several food security programs for our neighbours:

  • Emergency Food Hampers – provides 3 days’ worth of food to families in need. In 2017, we distributed over 14,000 hampers.
  • Food Co-Operative program – a unique, made-in-Cambridge support. Members can access 2 food pickups per month. They contribute $10 per month and a minimum of 4 volunteer hours. Over 10,000 Co-op food pickups were made in 2017.
  • Mike’s Lunch – every Saturday we provide a hot lunch to the community. Last year we served over 3000 lunches.
  • In addition to the above, we operate 4 community gardens which grow over 6000 pounds of fresh local food for our community.
  • We provide food to 21 program partners in Cambridge including shelters and meal programs.

Seeing people holistically, we are distinctly “more than a food bank.” Our broader social and community support initiatives include:

  • Street Outreach – 2 outreach workers walk with people experiencing homelessness
  • Spiritual Care – The Spiritual Care Provider offers personal support, as well as hosting events including grief support groups, visiting people in hospital, a variety of workshops, and performing funerals for those who cannot afford one.
  • Clothing closet – Providing free donating clothing to those we serve
  • Grandparent’s Group – a peer support and social group for grandparents and other family members who are raising kin children
  • CSHFB Wellness Hub – within our main building, we provide space for a range of partners to serve our community, including Sanguen Health Centre, ACCKWA, House of Friendship, SHORE Centre, Community Legal Services, Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels, White Owl Native Ancestry, and others.

In addition to the above, we fill a number of gaps including providing 600 backpacks and school supplies to kids going back to school, hundreds of families with a Christmas meal and toys for children, gifts for children to give to their single parent, peer health, peer nutrition, and peer mentorship supports, Seniors’ Peer Group, OneVision (accessing free eyeglasses), energy savings applications, and much more.


To all of our staff, volunteers, members, donors, community supporters, cheerleaders, and champions: it’s amazing work that each of you do each day, and I want to share my appreciation. I get to type out this really impressive response to this question, all because of your hard work.

Thank you.

Cameron Dearlove
Executive Director