Charity Intelligence

As part of our commitment to our donors, we have created this page to clearly outline our activities, community impact and outcomes. We also have included our financials to ensure we are transparent with donor dollars.

The Ottawa Food Bank was formed in 1984 when several small community food banks decided to work together and pool resources to help the most vulnerable in our community. Our organization has grown significantly since that time and now functions as the City’s only central food collection, warehouse, and distribution centre, providing 12 - 14 tons of food daily to a large network of front-line member agencies.

What we do

The Ottawa Food Bank provides food to those in need throughout the city. The Ottawa Food Bank’s role in the community is to collect, purchase, grow, and distribute food to partner agencies who, in turn, provide food and support to clients each month.

A client can visit a food bank once a month and we provide between three- and five-days’ worth of food. We also provide baby items, such as diapers, formula and baby food to new parents.

Every dollar goes further

In addition to securing millions of dollars worth of donated food, we also purchase about $1.7 million of food every year to meet the need.

Because we buy food in such large quantities and have amazing food industry partners, we can make every donation go further. This means every dollar donated is $5 worth of food delivered to the community.

Hunger count over last three years

Number of clients Year Difference over previous year Percentage difference over previous year
38,397 2017 N/A N/A
37,542 2018 -873 -2%
39,078 2019 1,554 4%

Methodology: The Hunger Count survey is sent out to food banks in February of each year by the provincial association, Feed Ontario. The data collected is generally demographic information, such as age, sex, household make up. It also includes some optional psychographic questions such as source of income, education, and housing type.

The Hunger Count tracks data in March, every year, so that we can identify trends and issues in food banking in Ottawa. March is chosen as it is an unexceptional month, without predictable high or low use.

Data is collected from our agencies using a database called Link2Feed. Data collected through Link2Feed is non-identifiable and the Ottawa Food Bank is not privy to clients’ individual private information.

Food outputs over last three years (reflected in pounds)

2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
5,905,450 5,075,075 5,494,175
Community Food Banks
Food Cupboards
Kickstart After 4 Club Programs
Meal Programs
Multi Service Programs

(including the two main shelters)

Distribution Numbers by Category (lbs.)

The Ottawa Food Bank has a commitment to fresh and nutritious food. Here is the following food distribution by pounds:

FRESH FOOD 2,493,575 lbs. (46%)

Fresh Fruit & Vegetables 1,004,950 lbs.
Fresh Meat & Poultry 392,750 lbs.
Dairy & Eggs 693,050 lbs.
Bread & Miscellaneous Perishable 402,825 lbs.

Canned Goods 1,103,425 lbs. (31%)

Total = 5,434,675 lbs.

BABY FOOD 140,325 lbs. (3%)

OTHER 1,697,350 lbs. (20%)

Cereal & Grains 487,675 lbs.
Snacks, Cookies, & Desserts 449,350 lbs.
Granola Bars, Lunch Snacks, & Juice 205,700 lbs.
Miscellaneous Food Items 554,625 lbs.

Volunteer Support

Volunteer Hours

Total Volunteer Hours = 14,705

Volunteer Information:

During the pandemic, we had to eliminate some volunteer roles and reduce volunteer opportunities by over 50%. Even though there was a significant decrease in opportunities, there was only a 14% decrease in the number of volunteer hours donated to the Ottawa Food Bank! This truly illustrates the dedication of our volunteers – fewer people gave more of their time to meet the needs of the community.

  • 1,842 volunteers donated a total of 14,705 hours of
    their time between October 1, 2019, and
    September 30, 2020.
  • Due to proximity concerns, we had to temporarily
    suspend both truck assistant and reception volunteer
  • During the pandemic, volunteer opportunities for
    Ottawa Food Bank volunteers were created at a
    number of community food bank programs across the
    city to assist with client services.

Click below to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

Financial Information

Fund contribution sources for 2019-2020 (chart). Click here to review our complete Audited Financial Statements.


Total Revenue = $30,332,551


Total Expenses = $20,779,283

A portion of Note 12 from Ottawa Food Bank’s (the Organization) Audited Financial Statements:

It is expected Canada will see ongoing job loss and a slow return to work for many of those employed by the gig economy. The uncertainty of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the Organization in two equally important ways: the number of clients may increase over several years, and community support may begin to lessen as normalcy returns to the community.

The Organization’s ability to continue to operate and meet its local food demand is dependent on its ability to collect donations and raise funds. During the 2019-2020 fiscal, the Organization successfully raised and spent close to $3 million to meet the increased emergency service due to the pandemic. These additional expenses included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), increased cleaning supplies, an increased number of boxes, additional staff, more fresh food, and home delivery expenses.

The Organization received Covid specific and one-time funding, such as substantial support from the provincial government in the form of emergency hampers. These hampers significantly reduced the Organization’s food budget. It also received substantial one-time funding support from Food Banks Canada and the federal government. Neither of these supports are expected to continue in the next fiscal or beyond the pandemic.

The Organization will need to maintain increased support to the member agencies for many months to come, even after the pandemic ends. The Organization raised an additional $9.5 million to address the uncertain long-term costs of COVID-19. While the increased surplus funds are significant, these funds have been earmarked to address the increase in clients at member agencies and corresponding expenses, as well as a possible reduction in community support in the next 12-24 months.

Click below to view our Audited financial statements.

2017-2018 Activities and Impacts

KickStart After 4

No school supply is as critical as a healthy snack or meal. The KickStart After 4 Program provides and delivers thousands of healthy nutritious snacks per month to children at after-school programs in Ottawa. KickStart ensures that children from food insecure families receive healthy snacks that provide the energy to thrive in physical and mental activities every day.

Just a little bit of good food can do so much. Over the last two years, the Ottawa Food Bank has worked with our dietician to identify snack items that could have the biggest nutritional impact for children. We made a significant investment in the quality of food we provide through this important program.



Number of Participating Agencies:

After-School Programs


Children have access to a healthy snack each school day. Our snacks provide a serving from each food group. This important end of day snack ensures children have nutrient-dense food to help them with homework and being active. Many of the after-school programs also provide a homework club or cooking class.

The Summer Lunch Program

The Summer Lunch Program is one of our most important programs for children. When school is done in June, so are the school meal programs. Many of the children who receive a meal through a school breakfast or lunch program are left with no resources over the summer. Without this program, many children would be going without regular meals.


Total Lunches Provided

Number of Participating Agencies:

Day Camps


Children in low-income communities have access to a nutritious meal every day during the 7-week program. This alleviates the burden on families, already struggling to make ends meet.

Baby Basics Program

“Nutrition and access to healthy food from a young age play a crucial role in a child’s physical, intellectual and emotional development. For kids to reach their full potential, we need all families in our region to have access to healthy food, nutrition information and support to provide a balanced diet for their children.” – Dr. Lindy Samson, Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

With 5% of food bank clients being babies under the age of two, our Baby Basics Program is important to struggling parents across the city. Baby supplies continue to be some of the most expensive products to purchase and least donated item.


Total Pounds of Diapers Provided
Total Pounds of Baby Food
(includes formula, food, and cereals)


This program ensures the nutritional needs of at-risk infants are met. This also reduces stress on families, as parents often will sacrifice eating for themselves to make sure their children can eat. Providing baby essentials removes the difficult decisions for parents, like choosing between food and paying the heating bills.

Community Harvest Farm

In 2010 the Ottawa Food Bank started an 8-acre community farm program, Community Harvest. The land is donated to us by a local family and hundreds of volunteers help plant and harvest the crop each year.

We grow 16 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and watermelons. Most of our produce goes from farm to table in less than five days.


Pounds of fresh food distributed
to the community from our farm
Participating Agencies


Free vegetables and fruits available to families for who could not otherwise afford fresh produce. Ensure families receive important vitamins and nutrients.

Food Recovery

In July 2017, the Ottawa Food Bank hired a coordinator dedicated to recovering food from local grocery stores, farms, and manufacturers. We have seen tremendous results, and since this position started our recovered food has increased dramatically. But more importantly, the quality of the food has improved. We worked with our grocery store partners to identify the most needed items and reduced recovery of items not necessary for a balanced diet.

The Ottawa Food Bank has continued to expand our protein recovery program, One More Bite. This past fiscal year saw an impressive increase in meat products donated as a result. Meat is frozen at the store, several days before its best before date. Our refrigerated trucks transport the products safely back to our warehouse where it is relabeled, and then from there we distribute it all to the community. Thank you to our grocery store partners for supporting this initiative.


0 lbs
Total recovered food
from grocery store partners
(totaling $5,463,250)

of that,

0 lbs
pounds was fresh food
(totaling $2,808,585)


High quality meat, produce, and dairy are distributed to the community. This high-quality food ensures families have access to free, nutrient dense food. This also means hundreds of thousands of pounds of food were diverted from waste.

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