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Emergency Food Hampers

Feeding Those in Need & Addressing Hunger in Our Community

For over 60 years, House of Friendship's Emergency Food Hamper program has been providing emergency food assistance to people in need. 31,730 food hampers were distributed in 2010-11, serving approximately 22,000 people.

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 hampers@houseoffriendship.org

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.

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 us
  • Donating food (for more information...)
  • Donating dollars (for more information...)
  • Donating small household items, clothing and baby products
  • Educating yourself and others about hunger, its causes, and effective solutions
  • Advocating for social justice
  • Volunteering your time:
    • Over half 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 and clothing, pack food hampers and initiate or assist with related projects.
    • Without volunteers, our 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

Volunteer Profile: Pauline!
Pauline started volunteering at the Food Hamper Program last October. Since that chilly afternoon she has become our on-call superstar, regularly coming in to help on short notice, despite being in school; and volunteering over 190 hours in the process! Pauline is obviously committed to our program: she goes to great lengths to get here, and […] » more

Five days on a Hamper Diet: surviving, or thriving?
In two other posts, our intrepid summer students discussed “living inside the box,” including planning meals and dealing with the unexpected when your only groceries are from the Emergency Food Program. In this piece, Jessica shifts the discussion out of the abstract, describing her experience living on the actual contents of a food hamper, for […] » more

Fried Baloney: a story about food in the north
To follow-up on my previous entry about food (in)security in northern Ontario and Labrador, I am sharing some fiction: a short story called fried baloney. (Full disclosure: the author is my dad.) Enjoy! » more

Northern Reflections on Food (in)Security
What would you do with $908? Take a cruise to Alaska? Buy a nice new bicycle? A TV? 900 boxes of Kraft Dinner? Bury it under a large rock? Maybe you’d go grocery shopping? There is no real grocery store in Gull Bay First Nation, an Anishinaabe community about 200 kms north of Thunder Bay. […] » more

Living Inside The Box: Menu Planning For Food Hampers, vol. 2
Here is the second installment of Sarah and Jessica’s work thinking through the options and dilemmas of a food hamper for a single person. Two weeks after their first hamper, they packed a second one with very different results. The theme of their menu this time around is food monotony–a topic discussed elsewhere on this […] » more