In the Community

Baking for a Cause: The Story of the Cambridge Food Bank’s Food Rescue Program and Their Amazing Preserves and Baked Goods

Our Story

At the Cambridge Food Bank, a remarkable transformation takes place. What starts as rescued produce needing a second chance turns into delicious preserves that not only sustain our participants year-round but also generate vital funds for our cause. In this blog post, we had the pleasure of speaking with Vi, the Food Rescue Coordinator, who shared the inspiring story behind the Cambridge Food Bank’s venture into the world of preserves.

Rescuing and Creating

Using fruits and vegetables, Vi and her team carefully handcraft a variety of mouthwatering jams, sauces, and relishes. By preserving these flavours, they not only prevent waste but also create products that capture the essence of seasonal abundance. Each jar tells a story of generosity, sustainability, and culinary delight. 

Seasonal Abudance

With an abundance of carrots, apples, pears, and other seasonal produce pouring in, Vi worked her magic, turning them into delectable sauces, jams, and relishes. From the mouthwatering carrot cake jam to the tangy dill pickles, the Cambridge Food Bank preserves became a testament to Vi’s culinary skills and resourcefulness.

Embracing Change and Learning

Making preserves dates back to 1795.  With changing regulations and advancements in preservation techniques, Vi embraces the opportunity to expand her knowledge. She’s learned the importance of maintaining proper temperatures, following correct procedures, and adapting recipes to suit modern standards and different produce characteristics.

The Sweet Taste of Success

The pride that Vi takes in her preserves comes from the joy she experiences when receiving positive feedback. The absence of additives in Cambridge Food Bank preserves ensures a healthier alternative for consumers. Vi’s commitment to creating natural, wholesome products stems from her desire to provide her own children with additive-free options and inspired her to master the art of homemade cooking.

Looking Ahead

Vi’s future interests lie in pressure canning, allowing her to explore new avenues and expand the Cambridge Food Bank’s preserves collection. She emphasizes the importance of understanding consumer preferences and ensuring food safety. By actively seeking feedback and conducting taste tests, Vi believes that the Cambridge Food Bank can continue to grow in popularity.

Heartwarming Stories and Shared Culture

Vi’s dedication to her work has fostered a sense of community among the volunteers. Through sharing knowledge and experiences, cultural differences have been embraced, bringing people closer together. The volunteers, eager to make a difference, leave the kitchen with a sense of fulfillment and return time and time again.

A Legacy of Compassion

When envisioning the future, Vi emphasizes the Cambridge Food Bank’s longstanding history and the commitment of its volunteers. Since her involvement in 1988, Vi’s family has played a vital role in supporting the organization. Looking ahead, she hopes that new volunteers will be welcomed with open arms, carrying forward the knowledge and passion for feeding those in need.


Vi’s journey at the Cambridge Food Bank exemplifies the power of resourcefulness, creativity, and compassion.  With each jar sold, the Cambridge Food Bank preserves continue to sustain participants, generate funds for programming, and remind us of the impact that a simple act of kindness can have on a community.

Grief is a Journey and Oliver was Inspired to Help his Community

Ok what about this one Grief can be a difficult journey, but through the passing of Oliver’s grandmother in 2020, Oliver and his mother Kirsti found an opportunity to give back to the community.

In 2020, Kirsti used her small business to help those in need during the more difficult times. The following year, Oliver was inspired to take his hobby of creating snowflakes to give to family and friends. In 2022 Oliver turned this opportunity into a fundraiser as a way to support the community.

With the help of his mother, Oliver sold his snowflakes and used the proceeds to make donations to the Scouts, provide gift cards, and contribute to the Cambridge Food Bank.

We are proud of Oliver’s initiative and dedication to making a positive impact in our community.

Well done, Oliver!

Our Mobile Food Market Provides Affordable Produce to Make Fresh Baby Food

Making your own baby food is easy, efficient, and economical. Instead of spending money on prepackaged baby food, you can use fresh produce, grains, and meat that you have on hand. Best of all, you’ll know exactly what you’re feeding your baby.

Going the do-it-yourself route also gets your baby used to eating the same food the rest of the family does.

Homemade baby food is also more nutritious and tastier than some store-bought food as it is made from fresh, whole foods and nothing else. 

Gena, one of our mobile food market customers enjoys visiting our weekly markets as she’s able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare her daughter’s baby food with. On December 6th, 2022, Gena shares

“Thanks for my haul today. Made applesauce for the baby and now roasted the squash, boiled the sweet potatoes and carrots to make baby food for the upcoming week.” Gena’s daughter is featured in the image.

Want to save money by creating your own baby food? Here are some easy-to-follow instructions and click here to see a list of our mobile food market locations.

Everyone can shop at our mobile food market and each week a selection of food will be available for a minimum, subsidized flat rate of $5. Our cost is $10 and those who can or wish to pay $10 or more can do so to support those who are living on a low income. The type and amount of food available at each pick-up will vary but there will be a minimum of 5 varieties of produce with 4 servings of each offered each week.

Thank you, Gena, for sharing your story. We hope you’ve inspired others to find affordable ways to create fresh baby food for their little ones.

Cambridge Food Bank Couldn’t Serve 21,000 Hampers from a Trunk of a Car

More than 37 years ago, offering food to those who needed it began out of the trunk of a car. Tom and Janet McEwan started helping to provide food to those who needed it from their vehicle at Dickson arena. “I’m not sure just how we got into all this and somehow, we did” says Janet McEwan. “It just started out that way with us helping and we just kept doing it. We were struggling a little bit ourselves at the time and this helped us out.”

Once Tom and Janet began helping their community, they kept on going and didn’t look back.

“We were on several committees.  We’d start in the morning, and it would be late in the day before we’d get back home.”   Being a part of the community and being able to help those in need helped Tom and Janet through their personal struggles.  “It’s just something we did”

When shared with Janet just how many hampers are now served through the Cambridge Food Bank, she replies with “WOW and the problem is, it’s only going to get worse.  I don’t even want to think about how much that is going to increase.”

Janet’s only regret is that she’s at a stage in her life that she can’t physically continue to help the food bank but she continues to advocate on behalf of people facing food insecurity, please help us share her message.

  1. “Continue telling people about the food bank and encourage them to visit or call if they need help.”
  2. “Take people to the food bank if they need help.”
  3. “Remove the stigma that it is only for the homeless.  It is for anyone who needs it.”
  4. “Find ways to connect people with one another and with community. It’s important.”

Food Bank use in Ontario has increased by 42% since 2019, the need in Cambridge continues to grow and it takes an entire community to ensure that no one goes hungry.

Kindness and Donated Wool Keep Hands Warm at the Cambridge Food Bank

Marion’s Story

According to The Weather Network September 2022 wasn’t a cold month in Cambridge Ontario with highs of 30 degrees and lows in the mid-teens but that didn’t stop Marion Beam from being ready for winter.

Marion, a resident of Revera Granite Landing took wool that was donated and put it to good use.  She made mittens of all sizes for those who come into the Cambridge Food Bank.  “She had them ready in September, but I told her it’s probably better we bring them in December when it gets cold outside” said her daughter Karen Tuinstra.

Amy Slack, Operations Manager at the Cambridge Food Bank, offering a new pair of Marion’s mittens to Leo Taggar

We can reward Marion’s kindness and philanthropy by making sure unused wool goes to good use.

How You Can Turn Your Halloween Festivities Into a Way To Help Your Community

The leaves have changed to gorgeous colours and the air is getting colder, which can only mean one thing: Halloween season is upon us! All Hallows’ Eve is a time of fun and fright, but this Halloween doesn’t have to be a terrifying time for those in need in your community. Read on to discover three ways you can help the more vulnerable folks in your neighbourhood make life a lot less scary this month.

Decorate & Request Donations of Food

Many homeowners decide to make their properties nice and spooky this time of year with awesome Halloween decorations. People have even created amazing light shows that sync to music! If you’re one of those people who loves decorating for the spookiest time of the year, consider sharing your home’s decorations on your town’s local Facebook group and tell your neighbours that you’ll be collecting donations leading up to October 31st on behalf of your local food bank for those less fortunate. It’s a fun way to give back to both your community and neighbours at the same time.

Trick-Or-Treat For More Than Just Candy

Another great idea is to tag along with your kids and at each door ask your neighbours if they have any canned food items you can collect for those in need. Most people have canned food on-hand and won’t mind sparing some when asked kindly. It’s a great way to teach your kids that even during fun times we can take a moment to remember those who worry daily about putting food on the table. Don’t forget to bring a wagon to haul all the canned food donations along with you and your kids.

You can also consider requesting donations of loose change for a local charity in your community. Remember UNICEF boxes at Halloween from when you were a child? Almost all parents these days have raised money for UNICEF as kids and will be more than willing to donate their change on Halloween.

Donate Your Candy

When families can’t afford regular meals, it’s possible that they also can’t afford costumes for their kids to go out trick-or-treating. Poverty makes it difficult for kids to participate in fun traditions like Halloween. 

If your children always end up with way too much candy, call your local food bank and ask if they take candy donations. Other charity organizations you can call about donating candy include Meals on Wheels, your local women’s shelter and even your local dentist which may have a candy buy-back program where the proceeds can be gifted to a local charity.

If we all work together, we can make the Halloween season a happy and fun time for everyone in our community.

Because giving is a boo-tiful thing.