Community spirit made it happen

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Submitted by the Edmonton Food Bank

While some people access services directly from Edmonton’s Food Bank, the organization is a central warehouse and referral centre for 230 agencies, churches and food depots.

In May 2016, during the Fort McMurray fire, Edmonton’s Food Bank provided food hampers to 23,681 people (up from 15,592 in May 2015) as well as provided food for nearly 500,000 meals and snacks.

Although our service is focused on Edmontonians and Edmonton-based charities, Edmonton’s Food Bank has a history of supporting emergency relief efforts, including support during the Slave Lake fires, the High River and Calgary floods, and helped Calling Lake assist evacuees in 2015.

We are able to deploy warehousing and food support within hours, as needed.
— Marjorie Bencz, Edmonton Food Bank

The Food Bank started providing services to Fort McMurray evacuees and the other organizations/communities serving evacuees on May 4, 2016.

In the weeks that followed, Edmonton’s Food Bank provided food, both directly and indirectly, to thousands of evacuees.

Some highlights of this Work:

  • In addition to our regular services, we distributed hampers each day to evacuees from our warehouse as well as provided food to our Edmonton affiliates like the Salvation Army
  • Food shipments were sent to the communities of Ft. McMurray, Lac La Biche, Bonnyville, Athabasca, and Boyle
  • Food was given to and exchanged with City Evacuation Centres and the Emergency Relief Centre
  • Baby formula was given to families and distribution centres when the Norwalk Virus broke out in the Evacuation Centres
  • Starting on May 5, we contacted funders, volunteers, supporters and the public to assist us
  • Thank goodness for the friendship and contributions from our volunteers, partners and donors

Special thanks to:

  • Our regular volunteers and staff who worked long hours to get the job done
  • Our corporate volunteers who responded by sorting food and packing hampers
  • Our donors and the public who were very generous with their donations of food and money


Geographically, Edmonton is situated in a unique position to respond to future crisis.

As a strong, vibrant community, we will respond.