Our Programs

Supports for Food Security

The Community Pantry
(Emergency Food Support)

When people think about food banks, they most often think about our Community Pantry support, often called an “emergency food hamper.” When a resident of Cambridge or North Dumfries is in immediate need of food, we can provide them with 3 days’ worth of food up to 8 times per year. The quantity of the Food Basket depends on the number of people in the household, and can include a mix of canned, boxed, fresh, and frozen foods. Baby food, formula, and diapers are also offered to households with an infant, when available.

People who come in for a Food Basket are often surprised by the welcoming and individualized experience. Helpful volunteers will walk you through our Community Pantry room and help you to select the items that work best for you and your family. When possible, we also help to adapt the selection for special diets, such as people who are vegetarian, have a food allergy, or have religious dietary restrictions.

Food Baskets can be picked up at our Ainslie Street or off-site locations during our opening hours. Please bring a piece of ID and your income information for your first visit. We also ask that you bring along some reusable shopping bags to carry your items out.

Emergency Food and Community Meal listing

The Food Co-operative

The Co-operative Program has been an integral part of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank (CSHFB) for more than 30 years, providing access to food to low-income individuals and families since before the emergency food hamper program began. A leader in co-operative food assistance, this unique support gives our 575 members the choice to contribute to their long-term food security, easing the struggle to feed themselves and their families.

How it works

Members of the Food Co-op contribute $10.00 per month and volunteer 4 hours per month at the Food Bank or a community agency of their choice.

Twice a month, Co-op members can visit the Food Bank or off-site location and shop for healthy food to help stretch their grocery budgets. A Co-op food pickup is similar to a food hamper pickup, though with a different variety of foods and is based on family size.


We use the word “member” intentionally, as each member contributes towards the Food Co-operative. Members contribute $10 per month, and are also asked to volunteer at least four hours each month – either giving back to the Food Co-operative, or to your community. Together with the Co-op Coordinator, the members stock the shelves, break down bulk foods, clean the Co-op, and serve their fellow members. Now that’s co-operative!

The co-op’s success is a direct result of the members themselves. In fact, the program could not run without them. Members contribute thousands of hours of volunteer work each month at the Food Bank and in the community to support the Food Bank, and help make Cambridge and surrounding area a better place to live.


The Mentor Program also helps volunteers develop the skills needed for job readiness. While not everyone is looking for work, the volunteer positions at the Food Bank show members that they have something worthwhile to contribute by using their talents and abilities. Many co-op members have even moved on to paid work. For example, one of the Food Bank’s peer health workers and Mike’s Lunch cook first came to the CSHFB as a co-op member. After volunteering with the Mentor Program, she realized she had both the desire and ability to help others in need.

download the Food Co-operative Flyer

You can also download the Emergency Food and Community Meal listing created by the Region of Waterloo.

Mike’s Lunch

Every Saturday we host a community meal at the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank. On an average Saturday, we welcome between 65 and 100 guests to come and enjoy a hot and nutritious meal. Volunteers take turns cooking up lunch for community members.

Lunch is available every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at our Ainslie Street location.

Community Food Partners

In addition to the food security programs we deliver out of our main location and off-site locations, we also provide food to Cambridge and North Dumfries community groups and organizations. These Community partners are an important part of the network fighting food insecurity in our community. We see it as a privilege to support these groups to meet the hunger need in our community, and continuously strive to better support their efforts.

To learn more about our Community Food Partnerships, or to inquire about becoming partners, contact Siobhan at extension 202

Supports for People & Families

Street Outreach

The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank is fortunate to employ two Street Outreach Workers who serve the Cambridge community. Street Outreach Workers build relationships with people who live, work, or socialize on the street. This work is relationship-based and involves walking with people as they navigate systems, providing referrals to resources, and practical support that assists people in meeting their basic needs.

Peer Program

The Peer Program Worker aims to increase individual capacity by providing Peer Workers and program participants with knowledge and skills around healthy eating and food skills, and to increase the overall health of caregivers and their children.

The Peer Worker also works to prevent and reduce social isolation within a community, through group programs focused on healthy eating and child and family health.

To learn more about this support, contact Debbie at extension 220.

Children’s Mental Wellness Hub


The Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank and the Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries are proud to offer supports and services for children experiencing issues with mental health or in need of other supports.

Are you looking for counselling for your child? Are you looking to enroll your child in an after school program? Do you want to know what is available to support your family? Then the Children’s Mental Wellness Hub can help you.

Contact our Community Connections Coordinator for more information about any of our programs listed here, to get schedule and sign-up information, and to learn what is available in our community. Contact the Community Connections Coordinator at 519-622-6550 x 206

Thanks to the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation for their funding support for these services. 

Clinical Counselling

Get connected with a Play Therapist who works with families and children to assist in maintaining children’s mental wellness into adolescence and adulthood.  The play therapy room is available to help children learn in a non-threatening environment. Contact the Community Connections Coordinator for a referral to this program. Contact 519-622-6550 x 206 for more information.

Kinship Support

The Kinship Support Group is for grandparents or other kin families who have assumed the responsibility of raising an immediate family member. This group provides an opportunity for members to share information, practical tips for daily living, and support and encouragement related to what may be an unexpected parenting role.

The group meets monthly and includes dinner, childcare, activities, and peer to peer support for adults.

To learn more about Kinship Support Group, contact 519-622-6550 x 206