Ottawa Food Bank marks 40th anniversary

The Ontario Food Bank was first founded in 1984 as a “temporary measure” and they say, 40 years later, the community need is higher than ever.

According to the food bank’s 2023 Hunger Report, the number of people seeking food support in the city over the past five years has increased by 68 per cent.

“We won’t be calling this anniversary a celebration,” wrote the food bank in a media release. “Nothing about a food bank being needed for 40 years is to be celebrated.”

According to the media release, the Ottawa Food Bank’s goal is to end food insecurity in Ottawa by 2050.

“There are steps our municipal, provincial and federal governments must also take,” wrote the food bank.

The report advocates for the governments to fund continued mental health programming beyond the current prototype and stemming the housing crisis by implementing the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa “Starts with Home” recommendations.

“At the Ottawa Food Bank, we don’t talk about solving the issue of hunger,” says Rachael Wilson, CEO, Ottawa Food Bank. “Hunger is solved by a meal.”

The Ottawa Food Bank is the fifth-largest food bank in the country and the main emergency food provider in Ottawa–Gatineau. It provides food for more than 100 agencies across the city.

“Being the fifth largest is not something this city can be proud of,” says Wilson.

On average, they distribute 12 to 14 tons of food from the 2001 Bantree Street warehouse every weekday.

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