As we near the holiday season, this year seems to be hitting a lot of families harder than most. In 2023, food prices rose 5.9 percent and are expected to continue to rise into next year according to the 2024 edition of Canada’s Food Price Report. With the rising costs of groceries, rent, and general cost of living, you may find yourself wondering how you will be able to get through the holidays with food security.
You are not alone, and Waterloo Region has an extensive Community Food Assistance Network
of over 120 community programs and agency partners to make sure that you and your family have food on the table over the holidays and throughout the year.
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and Cambridge Food Bank are often the first step if you are struggling with food security. They source and distribute food to the Community Food Assistance Network and their website has an Interactive Map of Community Food Assistance Locations that are located near you. These places range from many local churches and community centres to House of Friendship and the Salvation Army.
You can go to any of these locations to pick up an emergency food hamper. If you are unable to travel, you can call the Food Bank to arrange delivery as well.
When you go to one of these centres for your emergency food hamper, you will be given a mix of fresh, frozen and non-perishable items that are currently available. Please bring a piece of photo ID with you, and reusable bags if possible. You will be asked a few questions about yourself and your family to better understand your household but preferring to remain anonymous will not stop you from being able to receive food assistance.
Anyone can access food assistance. If you need assistance and help with food immediately, you can call The Food Bank directly at 519-743-5576 ext. 340.
To find the Mobile Market from the Cambridge Food Bank, visit their site map here or give the front desk a call at 519-622-6550 for their Community Pantry.
If you need help beyond food this holiday season, the Region of Waterloo has many other Community Supports available to you, including crisis lines, mental health supports, emergency childcare, warming centres and more. And as always, Lutherwood Housing Services is here to help you with a housing search if you are in need of housing in Waterloo Region.
For more on food prices: CTV News Kitchener
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