Frequently Asked Questions

Our food bank members across the province are committed to providing service and support to those in need with confidentiality, dignity, and respect. If you are living in Ontario and in need of emergency food support for you or your family but don’t know where to begin, the list of frequently asked questions below may assist you.

What is a food bank?

A food bank is a not-for-profit organization that acquires and distributes food to individuals and families who are struggling with food insecurity in their community.

Food banks receive support from both public and private initiatives, such as local food drives, umbrella organizations, local farms and agricultural programs, food and produce manufacturers and other types of distributors.

They are there to support those who are in need.

What should I expect when visiting a food bank?

Our member food banks across Ontario vary in size and are often housed in community centres, local churches, and large warehouses.

The staff and volunteers are committed to providing the best possible service and care to their clients.

These individuals work hard to ensure you have a positive experience while visiting the food bank. They understand that you may be experiencing challenges in your life and are there to provide you with assistance to help you get back on your feet.

What do I need to bring if I am visiting a food bank for the first time?

Each food bank is different, so we suggest contacting your local food bank in advance.

Generally, most food banks require:
• Identification for everyone in your household who will be accessing their services
• Information about your situation including housing, income, etc

This information is confidential, and will not be shared outside the food bank.  It is used to better understand poverty in your community and to advocate on behalf of food bank clients to government representatives.

Who can use A food bank?

Anyone can use a food bank. The only requirement when visiting is need.

When visiting one of our member food banks in Ontario for the first time, you will be assessed to ensure the program is properly addressing your needs. This will ensure you, and your family if applicable, are receiving the best support for you.

What kind of food will I get?

Food banks in Ontario provide at minimum 3 days worth of emergency food support to someone in need.

This will include both non-perishable (ex. pasta, rice, soup etc.) and fresh (ex. milk, produce, eggs) food. Every food bank is different and they will be able to provide you more information when you visit.

Will it be embarassing to visit a food bank?

It can be difficult sometimes to ask for help. Food banks work hard to create a space for those who visit that is welcoming, positive, and comfortable. They treat all clients who visit with dignity and respect.

All of our member food banks abide by Food Banks Canada’s Ethical Food Banking Code.