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Emergency Food Hampers

Feeding Those in Need & Addressing Hunger in Our Community

For over 55 years, House of Friendship's Emergency Food Hamper program has been providing emergency food assistance to people in need. In 2014/2015, 28,444 food hampers were distributed, serving over 20,000 people, one third of who are children.

In 2015/2016 House of Friendship is 'Opening Up Food Hampers', a modest redevelopment of the program site to ensure patron's safe access and greater privacy, and to increase the space and efficiency of deliveries and food storage.

Meet some of the friendly folks at the Food Hampers Program. They may not take themselves too seriously, but they treat hunger very seriously...

photo collage

For more program information see the description below, download the brochure above, call (519) 742-0662, or e-mail

volunteer bagging carrotsphoto

Why is there Hunger in Waterloo Region?

There are many reasons why some people in our affluent community need emergency food assistance. Some of these include:

  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Inadequate fixed incomes
  • High costs of housing, transportation, and education
  • Unexpected expenses, family emergencies, and illness
  • Being a new Canadian with limited financial resources
  • Drug, alcohol or gambling addictions
  • Poor or abusive family relationships
  • Poor mental health

Did you know?:

  • One-third of the people we serve are children 12 years of age or under.
  • Approximately 40% of the people we serve are not on social assistance.
  • The other 60% receive some social assistance income in whole or in part.
  • 60% of recipients receive 3 or less food hampers during the year

Food Sources

  • Food Bank of Waterloo Region The Food Bank of Waterloo Regioncollects donated food that is distributed through member agencies like House of Friendship. House of Friendship is the largest member agency and distributes over half of the food collected by the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
  • We also receive direct food donations from churches, community groups, service clubs, schools, unions, businesses, farmers, and individuals.
  • Some staples (baby items, rice, margarine, potatoes) are purchased at wholesale prices using dollars donated to House of Friendship.

You Can Help By .....

  • Growing food for your neighbours in need
  • Donating food (for more information...)
  • Donating dollars (for more information...)
  • Donating baby products
  • Educating yourself and others about hunger, its causes, and effective solutions
  • Advocating for social justice
  • Volunteering your time:
    • Over two-thirds of the work done at the Emergency Food Hamper Program is donated by volunteers. Many volunteers have received assistance through this program.
    • Volunteers sort food, pack food hampers and initiate or assist with related projects.
    • Without volunteers, this vital program would not exist. Please contact us if you are interested in helping us help others.

Download Brochure

HOF Emergency Food Assistance Blog
Blog Home Page

Healthy Communities Through Harm Reduction
In part two of this three part series, Sarah outlined a difficult tension in many social service agencies’s work. Agencies like House of Friendship often walk with people using drugs or struggling with their mental health, which can manifest in behavior likely to be deemed “difficult.” When so-called difficult people are barred or restricted from […] » more

Community exclusion and ‘difficult’ patrons
In her first guest post, Sara started to discuss the relationship between well-being and community inclusion (or not), and the ‘reality’ that many non-profits feel under-equipped to deal some of their patrons who are experiencing mental health issues or are using drugs or alcohol. Today she continues her earlier thoughtful discussion, jumping into a Toronto […] » more

Community membership and individual well-being
I am thrilled to share a post today from Sara, a recent MSW graduate from Toronto, now working in Montreal. Today’s post is part one of THREE, and in it she chews on some very difficult questions about community membership and exclusion, and the effects of both on persons struggling with their mental health and/or addictions. My […] » more

Volunteer Profile: Laura
[Khadija, Summer Special Projects Assistant at House of Friendship’s Emergency Food Hamper Program, wrote the following profile.] There are very few people whom I have met that can be tenacious in spirit and have a calming effect on others. Laura illustrates that fine balance between the two valuable characteristics.  With approximately 93 hours clocked in […] » more

A Green Community Is Growing At Supportive Housing
This summer Chloe and Khadija had the opportunity to visit the gardens of the House of Friendship’s Supportive Housing Programs. You may remember in the spring we shared a lot about gardens at House of Friendship. Chloe and Khadija met with Julie, who is the Garden Project leader at Supportive Housing this year. What Does […] » more