a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Oct, 2009

The Ottawa Food Bank needs us – our community needs us – right now

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Yaktivism

This is a difficult time of year for families in need.

The Ottawa Food Bank needs donations of cash and non-perishable food items.

Top requested items include baby formula and diapers, canned fish and meat, personal hygiene products, peanut butter, and Thanksgiving foods (cranberry sauce, stuffing mixes).  Although it’s not on the Food Bank’s official list of suggested donations I like to give coffee and tea. I enjoy coffee and tea (let’s be blunt, I LOVE my coffee and tea) and I know other people do too … but they’re expensive, so I bet it’s appreciated.

Can you imagine what it’s like to not be able to feed your family, especially now that the days are getting colder?

Some Food Bank facts to chew on:

  • The Ottawa Food Bank provides 43,000 people each month with emergency food assistance, 40% of whom are children.
  • The Ottawa Food Bank supports more than 135 food programs throughout the National Capital Region.
  • 12 tons of food leaves the Michael Street warehouse each and every working day.
  • $1 donated to the Ottawa Food Bank generates $5 worth of food into the community.

So the next time you’re grocery shopping at Metro or Loblaws, just buy a few extra items and drop them off in the marked bins.  It’s hard to believe that something that simple can make such a big difference.

13 Responses to "The Ottawa Food Bank needs us – our community needs us – right now"

1 | Judy

October 7th, 2009 at 8:16 am


Since our son was born we make a point of buying one extra thing for kids (baby food, wipes, diapers, rice cereal, whatever) everytime we go to the grocery store.

While he was still eating mush I would buy a jar of whatever I was making from scratch at home. The thought of not being able to feed our kids is always enough to motivate us to add something to the cart. Even if all that fits in our budget that week is a jar of babyfood for under a $1.

2 | Betsy Mae

October 7th, 2009 at 8:45 am


I was told (by someone who used a local foodbank for several months during a difficult time) that cereal, toilet paper, and items for childrens lunches were usually not available at the food bank. I keep that in mind when I dontate (coffee and tea are great suggestions too). Keep in mind also that maxi pads and tampons are very expensive but necessary as well.

3 | andrea

October 7th, 2009 at 8:49 am


Judy: the “one extra thing” is a great idea.

Good suggestions too Betsy. Cereal isn’t cheap! I also heard that shampoo and conditioner are good things to give too.

4 | Rebecca

October 7th, 2009 at 9:17 am


A timely post as we enter a very needy holiday season with Thanksgiving etc. upon us.

Great ideas. I love how you give what you enjoy. I am saddened when I hear people giving things that are unhealthy etc. just because it’s ‘cheap’. Canned meat would be a better alternative than high sodium boxed goods I think.

My family has asked me what they can bring to Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. I usually say nothing, but a donation may be a better request!

5 | Hellcat13

October 7th, 2009 at 10:28 am


I also like the coupons that they have at the registers that allow you to add 5$ to your grocery bill. The money goes directly to the food bank. I find 5$ isn’t a lot on my grocery bill, and then the food bank can get what it needs most. I wish they had them available all the time and not just during holiday seasons.

6 | Patti Church

October 7th, 2009 at 10:58 am


Thanks for the reminder. It’s amazing how often we are distracted by our immediate needs that we don’t take the time to think of others needs.

7 | Gwen

October 7th, 2009 at 1:53 pm


Our grocery store has a donation bin year round, not only around holidays. I have made picking an item to donate a “job” for my 5 year old each time she comes along with me. It’s a job that never gets old, she looks forward to it. We also talk about the people who need the items. I think getting children involved with things like this at a young age carries over to when they are adults.

We also make it a point to give things we like as well :)

8 | Laura

October 7th, 2009 at 3:08 pm


I read the recent article in the Kanata Kourier to my class and we decided to look in our cupboards at home and see if there was anything that we hadn’t been using that could be given away. Tomorrow a parent is coming to pick up our donations and take them to the food bank on our behalf in time for Thanksgiving weekend!

9 | andrea

October 7th, 2009 at 7:18 pm


You guys are fab. I’m going to get into the habit of buying the “extra” whenever I’m shopping too.

Laura: you rock! I’m so glad to hear stories like yours. Makes me all tingly inside.

10 | Loukia

October 7th, 2009 at 10:08 pm


I’m ashamed to admit that the thought of diapers and formula never even crossed my mind for some reason… like I want to avoid thinking about children who are hungry. It’s too much to think about, really, and too sad. I’ve only ever donated ‘canned’ items… I absolutely will donate more this week when I hit the grocery store and I’ll get diapers/formula baby food especially. Thanks for the reminder, Andrea.

11 | The Veg Next Door

October 8th, 2009 at 6:58 am


Another suggestion is to not exchange gifts with people and use the money to donate to a worthy cause like the Food Bank in your area. We no longer exchange gifts with my brother-in-law and his family. That’s 4 people. The money adds up.

12 | LO

October 8th, 2009 at 7:44 pm


My daughter is hosting a Halloween party the night before Halloween and the invitations ask that everyone bring a donation for the Food Bank!
:)Great timing

13 | Mike

October 22nd, 2009 at 1:17 am


Wow, what a great (and simple) idea. Maybe this will catch on ….
Vivienne told us her story a while back, about working at a food bank in Reno. She ended up in a conversation w/ a woman there, and realized how similar they were in so many ways.
Anyway I think stories like this might help inspire others to donate, volunteer, or otherwise get involved.
I hope you find it as inspirational as I do. Thanks for reading.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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