In the 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.

Give 30

It’s springtime, and you know what that means. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and hunger and food insecurity are issues that are still being faced every single day in our community. While most people tend to donate or think about food banks in the colder months, the mission of our organization is year-round. That’s why this year we’re working with the Waterloo Food Bank to support Give 30.

What is Give 30?

Founded in 2012 in Mississauga, Give 30 is a community-based initiative built upon the ideas and tenets of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan. During this 30 day period, Muslims are not to consume any food or drink (even water!) during daylight hours. This is designed to bring people closer to the Creator, and also to give perspective on the fundamental gifts food and drink are to us. Through this time of fasting, people are encouraged to be more compassionate to their fellow man who may not have food or drink not by choice, but by circumstance. 

So if Ramadan is about food, hunger, compassion, social solidarity and sharing, Give 30 embodies that spirit. This grassroots movement encourages people of ALL walks of life to think about those in our community who are struggling and lend a helping hand. That’s right, you don’t have to be Muslim in order to participate in Give 30.

So what can you do? 

1. Donate to Partner Organizations (Like the Cambridge Food Bank)
While you don’t have to fast to participate in Give 30, you can start by committing to give up one thing for 30 days, whether it be coffee, having lunch out, or something like that. Then, you donate the money that you would’ve spent on that one thing to the Give 30 campaign through a partner organization. Give 30 does not profit directly from this initiative, all of the money and donations are handled through partner food banks in your local community. 

2. Run a food drive in your office
Encourage co-workers and friends to donate canned goods, fresh foods and grocery gift cards in an effort to make a difference in your community for 30 days. Check out our recent blog about how to run a food drive for more information. 

3. Put aside part of your food budget
If you’re able to, put aside part of your food budget this month towards either a donation or food for your local food bank. Check out our tips for cutting down on your food budget for help thinking about ideas or recipes.

We hope that through this next month you’ll be able to contribute to the Give 30 campaign and make a difference in your community. For more information about the Give 30 organization check out their website at give30.ca. Give 30 runs from April 2 to May 2, 2022.