How to use the Calgary Food Bank

Does your family live on a low income and are you finding it difficult to buy enough food? Does it seem like groceries are getting more expensive all the time but your income isn’t getting any higher? You’re not wrong – the price of food has been rising steadily in the last few years. Canada’s northern climate makes it difficult or impossible to garden throughout the winter, and it means that many grocery items need to be imported from other countries, raising the price and making supply unreliable. It’s understandable then that your family might need help in getting enough food on the table, and that’s where food hampers from Calgary’s food banks can help.

Food hampers are provided for low-income persons in need and provide enough food to sustain one person for one week. Eligible recipients can receive up to 7 food hampers per year. The Calgary Food Bank is the largest food bank in the city, and they provide food hampers for a range of diets and needs, including for clients with celiac disease, kidney diseases, expecting mothers, and babies and children.

As per the Calgary Food Bank’s website, here’s how you can apply for a food hamper:

Step 1: Call 403.253.2055, the Hamper Request Line

  • Call the Hamper Request Line during operation hours to speak to a volunteer.
The Request Line is open during these hours:
Mon. 10:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Tues. 10:30 a.m.  –  7:15 p.m.
Wed. 10:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Thurs. 10:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Fri. 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • The best time of day to call is between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
  • Be prepared: The Food Bank will ask some personal questions like income and basic expenses, including rent, mortgage, utilities, childcare and medical costs. Please be ready to answer these questions. You will be given a confidential and respectful experience.
  • The Food Bank will determine your need based on the information you provide.

Step 2: Book a Hamper

  • Once you have called and been approved for an emergency food hamper, Calgary Food Bank volunteers will book a time for you to pick up the hamper.

Step 3: Pick up your Hamper

  • Once you are approved and a hamper pick-up time is set for you, you will be told if your hamper is at the Calgary Food Bank main warehouse (5000 11 Street SE) OR at one of their various depots across Calgary
  • When you come to pick-up your hamper, remember to bring two pieces of ID for each adult.
  • Each child needs one piece of ID.

Acceptable Identification (ID) includes: Driver’s License, Health Care Card, Passport, Birth Certificate, PR Card or Immigration Paperwork.


Note: The Calgary Food Bank will provide up to 7 food hampers per year for eligible recipients. The first three hampers will be available through self-referral, but the final four will require a referral from another community agency.


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