Building Capacity:

What is Capacity?

Keeping pace with the growing need for the services of food banks strains resources. Strengthening the food banking network’s ability to provide more food and specifically fresh food to Canadians in need is an important focus. Food Banks Canada is supporting the food bank network across Canada by investing in vital infrastructure needed to recover and distribute good, safe surplus food to Canadian families in need.

Our Capacity Boost grants are supporting food banks across Canada to help local organizations purchase equipment to expand cold chain capability to make fresh and perishable foods more accessible.

Thank you, Walmart Foundation!

Walmart Foundation is demonstrating a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to strengthening the food banking network in Canada. Over the last 4 years, Walmart Foundation has invested over $5.4 million in the food bank network. These grants are supported by the Walmart Foundation to support capacity building efforts for food banks to acquire and share more food and specifically fresh food to Canadians in need.Walmart Foundation

Grants in Action

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Used Van

Whitecourt Food Bank, Whitecourt, AB

"As a retired pensioner on a fixed income, I am so thankful for the arrival of the food bank van..."

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Used Van

Whitecourt Food Bank, Whitecourt, AB

"As a retired pensioner on a fixed income, I am so thankful for the arrival of the food bank van. Instead of sometimes making two trips on a week day to deliver all the donations to the food bank, I can now complete the pickups in only one trip. As schools prepare their annual donations to the food bank, we will be able to forego the four or more trips that were required with our small SUV. With pickups that require refrigeration from Walmart and KFC, I can now arrange my route to be more efficient and reduce unnecessary backtracking before going to the food bank."
Ed Mitchell, Whitecourt Food Bank Volunteer Driver

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Fork Lift

Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto ON

"Daily Bread Food Bank has been able to purchase a brand-new forklift to replace our old forklift..."

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Fork Lift

Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto ON

"Daily Bread Food Bank has been able to purchase a brand-new forklift to replace our old forklift, which was beyond repair. This incredible gift means our warehouse team can continue to go strong, moving the tens of thousands of pounds of food needed daily to help feed some of the most vulnerable people in the city of Toronto! Thank you, Walmart Foundation!"
- Laurie Snyder, Director of Operations

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Truck

Feed Nova Scotia, NS

Feed Nova Scotia collects and distributes food for 146 agencies across the province.

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Truck

Feed Nova Scotia, NS

Feed Nova Scotia collects and distributes food for 146 agencies across the province. This means their trucks are on the road 5 days a week, covering 350,000 km every year to help Nova Scotians living with food insecurity. The organization will invest in a 16-foot refrigerated truck to increase their capacity to recover more food from more locations.

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Retrofit Cube Van with Reefer Unit

Parkland Food Bank, Spruce Grove, AB

"After using the refer unit on the warm and cold days it has made a big difference..."

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Retrofit Cube Van with Reefer Unit

Parkland Food Bank, Spruce Grove, AB

“After using the refer unit on the warm and cold days it has made a big difference with being able to control the temperature (set point of 5C) in the truck van to ensure no food is spoiled due to heat or cold. Another good outcome is it’s much more comfortable for the workers in the truck van now that its temperature controlled. It used to get very warm in the summer months and very cold in the winter months while packing and unpacking the van. The project was a huge success in my opinion due to staying on budget, the timing and with the truck van being better suited to handle all kinds of weather changes (hot or cold) to prevent food waste."
- Gord Snell, Parkland Food Bank Driver

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Used Van

Guelph Food Bank, Guelph ON

The Guelph Food Bank distributed over one million lbs. of food last year, supporting over 26,000 families.

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Used Van

Guelph Food Bank, Guelph ON

The Guelph Food Bank distributed over one million lbs. of food last year, supporting over 26,000 families. Their critical need was replacing aging vans to ensure they could continue to pick up surplus good food from local retailers. Having reliable transportation gives the food bank the ability to expand their services to more agencies and more people in need.

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Loading Dock Upgrade

Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge, Lethbridge AB

The building we purchased in 2010 is equipped with a loading dock, however, we have been unable to use it as the dock accessories were removed prior to our facility purchase.

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Loading Dock Upgrade

Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge, Lethbridge AB

"The upgrade of our loading dock will greatly impact our ability to accept and distribute product through the National Food Sharing System and the retail partnerships established by Food Banks Canada. Without this type of funding, it is highly unlikely we could ever afford this much - needed improvement to our warehouse."
- Danielle McIntyre, Executive Director, Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge

The building we purchased in 2010 is equipped with a loading dock, however, we have been unable to use it as the dock accessories were removed prior to our facility purchase. Thanks to the Walmart Foundation and the 2016 Retail Capacity Grant, we will improve our capacity by refurbishing our dock: acquiring and installing a dock leveler; drape seals; and dock bumpers. An improved dock facility will allow us to accept more food from the regional and national food sharing systems and retail programs, and will assist in providing larger quantities of food to our clients, area food banks and agency support programs. Increasing our capacity by improving our dock facilities will also contribute to our role in a pilot project we have recently begun with Food Banks Alberta: establishing a Southern Alberta Food Hub that would further our ability to assist not only our own clientele, but to support our provincial network of food banks by adding much needed storage space for items donated through retail programs.

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Walk-In Freezer

Hope Community Services, Hope, BC

"We no longer have to hesitate to accept frozen items and wonder where we would store it..."

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Walk-In Freezer

Hope Community Services, Hope, BC

"We no longer have to hesitate to accept frozen items and wonder where we would store it. It's so much easier to see what we have and make sure we get things to our participants. So much better than a chest freezer where things get buried. We also know we can accept things that we would not have been able to accept in the past. For example, we recently agreed to accept several pallets of frozen food from Second Harvest that we would have had to pass on previously."
- Dianne MacDonnell, Food Bank Coordinator

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New Cold Room

Moisson Estrie, Sherbrooke QC

We now have a large cold storage facility better suited to our needs.

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New Cold Room

Moisson Estrie, Sherbrooke QC

We now have a large cold storage facility better suited to our needs.


Grants in Action

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Fork Lift

Moisson Estrie, Quebec, QC

The purchase of this new machine and its installation in the sink have made a big difference.

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Fork Lift

Moisson Estrie, Quebec, QC

The purchase of this new equipment and its installation in the sink have made a big difference. It is faster and more efficient. It ensures better hygiene with very hot water and a period of drying that doesn't entail multiple handlings. It is also physically easier for workers to use. The lift enables food pallets to be transported without compromising the physical health of our workers. It is efficient and fast, and enables goods to be transported from one storage space to another.

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Refrigerated Van

Mustard Seed Food Bank, Victoria, BC

"The Mustard Seed is in expansion mode this year with the lease of an additional facility as well as refrigerated vehicles to add much needed capacity..."

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Refrigerated van

Mustard Seed Food Bank, Victoria, BC

“The Mustard Seed is in expansion mode this year with the lease of an additional facility as well as refrigerated vehicles to add much needed capacity in our community to process perishable and non-perishable food donations more effectively and efficiently. The added support of so many agencies is affirmation that we are moving in the right direction."
- Allan Lingwood, Director of Development

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New Non-Refrigerated Truck

North York Harvest Food Bank, Toronto ON

"We will be able to add a truck to our existing fleet and allow us to dedicate our refrigerated capacity to picking up more fresh and perishable products..."

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New non-refrigerated truck

North York Harvest Food Bank, Toronto ON

"With this grant we will be able to add a truck to our existing fleet and allow us to dedicate our refrigerated capacity to picking up more fresh and perishable products from grocery and other retailers, while building new capacity to pick up non-perishables products from community events and food drives."
- Ryan Noble, Executive Director, North York Harvest

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Walk-In Cooler Expansion

Regina and District Food Bank, Regina SK

Over the past four years, the Regina Food Bank has been able to double the quantity of perishable foods to include in each food hamper.

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Walk-In Cooler Expansion

Regina and District Food Bank, Regina SK

Over the past four years, the Regina Food Bank has been able to double the quantity of perishable foods to include in each food hamper. Their cooler is now at capacity, yet the need in the community is still high. Increasing the food bank's cooler space ensures that the organization can accept more fresh items like fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meats and proteins and continue to distribute healthy hampers.

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Staffing Costs for Increased Perishable Pickups

Sudbury Food Bank, Sudbury, ON

The program would not have been possible without the support of Food Banks Canada and Walmart Foundation.

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Van and staffing

Sudbury Food Bank, Sudbury, ON

The program would not have been possible without the support of Food Banks Canada and Walmart Foundation. Once the initial grant was in place, we were in a position to contact stakeholders and assure them we could meet their needs for picking up products and delivering them to those in need. We were collecting a small amount of fresh and frozen produce and saw the difference is was making in people lives. So we know the project had to expand. I wish to commend all stakeholders in this project for their support and enthusiasm to join. We are on the brink of adding 6 additional pick ups spots and have now started additional deliveries to specific northern communities and First Nations. The grant allowed us to open up this project. What we have found to be the most surprising was just how much food was able to be rescued. And we still have not reached the peak here in Sudbury yet. In our forecast planning for 2021, there will be a need to explore options to expand this program. So many retailers are wishing to join. We are very blessed. BDSFB will be looking at expanding the program by one refrigerator vehicle adding an additional walk-infridge to our complex. Thank you to all for this opportunity to assist the hungry in the north. This grant opened up countless boundaries for the collection of food rescue products. On behalf of the thousand that can't thank you themselves, thank-you.

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Round-Trip Food Bins and Staffing

The Mississauga Food Bank, Mississauga, ON

"We are so appreciative of the Walmart Foundation building our capacity to collect surplus food."

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Round-Trip Food Bins and Staffing

The Mississauga Food Bank, Mississauga ON

"We are so appreciative of the Walmart Foundation building our capacity to collect surplus food. By being able to fund staff time, as well the purchase of food totes, we are able to build relationships with the stores and make collecting donations easier for retail store staff. We are seeing an increase in donations!"

Meghan Nicholls, Director of Marketing and Development, The Mississauga Food Bank
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Staffing

Whitehorse Food Bank Society, Whitehorse YT

"We were forced to dramatically increase our food purchases during the months of January and February to keep up with demand."

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Staffing

Whitehorse Food Bank Society, Whitehorse YT

“We were forced to dramatically increase our food purchases during the months of January and February to keep up with demand. The retail capacity grant, which we received to help supplement staffing costs, ensured that our food bank was appropriately staffed during this financially difficult time for us. The grant helped ensure that we could continue picking up food from retailers and other organizations on a daily basis and continuing operating effectively. We really appreciate all the help. It makes a huge difference for us. Thank you.”
- Tristan Newsome, Executive Director, Whitehorse Food Bank
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Refrigeration Equipment

W.E. Graham Community Service Society, Slocan, BC

The Retail Capacity Grant has meant a huge improvement for our Food Bank.

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Refrigeration Equiptment

W.E. Graham Community Service Society, Slocan, BC

"During the COVID crisis, while we are unable to bring volunteers into our facility on a regular basis, I have taken on much of the cooking for two of our programs and the coordination of one of them. Coincidentally, hours available for food recovery work and the promise of more fridge and freezer space have also dropped into my lap because of the Capacity and CFAI grants. Additionally, our produce and meat doners have been quite generous lately. This has resulted in a wonderful convergence of need and resource. COVID-modified programs need food, and we can supply it. Since I love cooking, we have to add enjoyment to the equation. And since the feedback from both food bank users and seniors' lunch participants has been very happy, we could say that it’s all good. A great part of this situation from a cook/coordinator perspective is finally having time and space to make the very best use of food donations. It is a creative, fulfilling and tasty endeavor to figure out which soup, stew, baked items or side dishes can be made out of the ingredients at hand, and which program will be able to make good use of them. I see great progress in our effective use of all  the donations that come in and am actively working on making best use of the space we have now and planning for that which will come online later. We have amazing doners who sometimes call about hundreds of pounds of produce or even meats and it will be a pleasure to easily say “yes’ when they offer these perishables to us. Another big perk is just how happy the various clients are. This is quality, nutritious food made from real ingredients and people are very happy to receive it. I get thank you calls every time we do a big cook. Currently we have 60 seniors receiving up to 10 portions of several soups, plus baked goods and sides once a month, and food bank attendees receiving muffins full of great fruits and berries, or other baked items while they wait for their hampers. The food bank also has access to frozen soups made in the food recovery kitchen. So just call me a delighted cook and coordinator and many thanks for this grant.
- Susan Kammerzel