About the Emergency Food Hamper Program

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The Emergency Food Hamper Program (EFHP) is an emergency food assistance program for individuals and families experiencing food insecurities in Kitchener Waterloo.  In 2014, we packed and distributed over 29000 food hampers, helping over 20000 people in need in our community.  The EFHP is a program of House of Friendship (learn more about it here).  On House of Friendship’s website, you can read about the mission and values of the organization, as well as the many other programs that House of Friendship is a part of.

The EFHP is the largest member agency of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.  We distribute over half of the donated food items that the Food Bank receives!  We also receive donations directly at the EFHP from farmers, churches, community groups and individuals.

Intake Process

People in need of food assistance can come to our program six times in a year for a food hamper.  Patrons can either call ahead or they can show up anytime between 11:00am and 4:15pm Monday to Friday to get food assistance.  When a person calls or comes in for food, we go through the intake process with them (learn more about this here).  If a person is coming in for the first time, we must see a piece of identification (birth certificate, driver’s license or even a piece of mail) for everyone in the household.  Each visit, for statistical reasons we ask the general source of income for the family, but do not require to know a dollar value.  We are also able to refer people accessing our program to a number of food assistance programs in our community.

Food Hampers

After the hamper is booked on the database, patrons are given a food slip to check off what they would like.  This food slip is a list of food items that we typically have (fruit, vegetables, frozen meat, etc.).  There is a section on the food slip that highlights any special diets that an individual or family may have (read about this here).  By highlighting  special diets, the volunteer hamper packers are able to prepare the hamper with those dietary concerns in mind.

Another component to the food slip is baby items.  We are able to help out once a month with baby items (diapers and formula).  Baby hampers include diapers, pabulum, formula (infants 0 – 12 months), and jar foods (strained or junior). Each item in a baby hamper is given in a predetermined amount.

Hampers are packed according to the number of people in a household.  Because we rely on donations, the amount of food that is given varies day-to-day.  Find out what a hamper for a family of three might look like here  and what a hamper for one person might include here.

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While people are waiting for their food hamper to be packed we often have some bread, extra food items and pamphlets that people can help themselves to.

Volunteers

The EFHP would not be able to hand out the number of hampers that we do without the generous donation of time from our volunteers.  The volunteers help with sorting clothing donations, bagging food, stalking shelves and packing food hampers.  We have over 80 active volunteers at any given point in the year, some who have been a part of the EFHP family for many years (see Carola and Marg).  If you would like to get involved with volunteering or would like to learn more about making a food, monetary or clothing donation, find out more here!

Address and Service Hours:

Location: 807 Guelph Street, Kitchener
Phone #: 519-742-0662
Hours: 11:00 am -4:15 pm (Monday – Friday)
Closures:  We are closed all statutory holidays (Christmas, labour day etc) and the first Wednesday of every month

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