Edmonton’s Food Bank history
Edmonton’s Food Bank was born through the realization of two factors by a small number of individuals from various local non-profit organizations: hunger was affecting the lives of many of their clients and edible food was being wasted in the community. There was a desire to reconcile these realities and to establish a channel for surplus food from the food industry to those who were experiencing food insecurity.
In April 1980, an ad hoc committee began investigating the possibility of establishing a food bank to serve agencies located within the inner city. Interest was high among these agencies to provide meal or snack programs to people in need. With funding provided by the Marian Centre, an official from Second Harvest Food Bank (Phoenix, Arizona) was asked to attend a workshop to provide his expertise. Following several meetings, an official steering committee was appointed by the participating agencies to carry out the planning for the Food Bank until the organization became legally incorporated and an official Board of Directors was elected.
On January 16, 1981, the Edmonton Gleaners Association, more commonly known as Edmonton’s Food Bank, received its official charter of incorporation and Canada’s first food bank was born.
To “glean” means “to gather by patient harvest.” Since 1981, this has been the mission of the Edmonton Gleaners Association (Edmonton’s Food Bank): to collect food in order to feed those in need within our city.
Edmonton’s Food Bank collects food such as bread, pastries, fruits, vegetables, and near-dated dairy products from grocery stores, food producers, and warehouses. This food is edible, but not marketable for a variety of reasons, such as label or branding changes. Approximately 70 per cent of the food distributed by the Food Bank is gleaned from the food industry including warehouses, grocery stores, farmers and local growers.