Fire Chief Richard Hepditch remembers growing up with food insecurity.

“I remember friendly strangers, bringing large cardboard boxes overflowing with food. My favourite item was a container of Nestle Quik.”

“This generosity and compassion helped shape who I am and how I feel about my community. It is natural for me to lend time to help people in need; a hallmark of community service.

Today, I am happy, healthy and successful. I am grateful for the people who modelled the way. Today, I am able to support my family. Today, I proudly serve my community as Fire Chief for Waterloo Fire Rescue. All I needed was someone who believed in helping me when I needed it most.”

Richard is using his life experience to enhance food bank support in Waterloo Region. Fire stations were already receiving food bank donations during food drives, however, he determined that by “giving the program a name, consciously marketing and involving our emergency service partners we can drive home the message that there is a 365 day/year need for sustainable food assistance.”

Fire stations in all communities are strategically located to respond to emergencies; in the same way that they can be viewed as being strategically located for citizens to conveniently drop food donations 365 days of the year. Fire stations are always open and willing to facilitate such support.

“This generosity and compassion helped shape who I am and how I feel about my community.”

Fire to Food Bank 365 has grown from the City of Waterloo to other community fire departments in the Region. In addition, Waterloo Region Police Services has adopted the concept to create Police to Food Bank 365. The community is encouraged to bring food bank donations when they tour fire stations or police divisions. Marked food donation bins are placed at all locations to serve as a reminder of the year-round need for food support.

If you are interested in learning more about the Fire to Food Bank program and how you can bring it to your community, please contact Richard at

Submitted by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region Link opens a new window as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.

Thank you to Hunger Action Month sponsor, Cargill Canada!