This project reviewed The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank's donor streams, distribution processes,
and receiving social service agencies. The research aimed to better understand the advantages and
challenges of partnering with the food industry and corporate donors, the Calgary Food Bank's scale of
operations and logistics management, and the distribution channels into the community.
Through interviews with key informants, research found that corporate donors viewed their
partnerships with the Calgary Food Bank as an appropriate and responsible way to distribute unsaleable
food into the community. Corporate donors relied on the food bank's size and ability to receive large
donations, as well as their expertise to identify and facilitate food distribution to social service agencies.
Reclamation services were also reviewed. Across the spectrum, participants identified the theme of
community as a motivation for contributing, and the food bank's commitment to food safety as a key
facilitator of donations. The Calgary Food Bank's distribution channels were also mapped. Almost 45% of distributed
food is sent directly from the Calgary Food Bank to social service agencies (where food is typically
utilized in programming), many of whom are targeting the root causes of food insecurity. Food is also
distributed directly to clients (through the main warehouse and community hubs), and to smaller food
banks in Southern Alberta. Social service agencies identified the Food link program as an important
supply stream for their operations, and gave feedback about how they access the program and utilize
The Calgary Food Bank staff also identified several of these key themes, and commented on how
their policies actively tried to ensure that the food bank was both providing emergency food assistance
and helping to address the root causes of food insecurity by supporting agencies who were doing this
work, and actively referring clients to other sources of assistance. Given that the corporate perspective on food bank donations is understudied, and that the
operations of food banks vary significantly across Canada, the Calgary Food Bank is an important
example of best practices in managing donations, distributing food, and supporting agencies addressing
root causes of food security.