Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Food Bank?

There are many misconceptions about the specific role that a food bank plays. Food banks serve the community by acquiring and warehousing food and other necessities from numerous public and private sources. This food is then distributed throughout the year to eligible people in need.

How does Burlington Food Bank help the hungry?

We help the hungry by sourcing, managing and distributing food to our network of local agencies, including food banks, children’s snack programs, the Carpenter Hospice, Halton Woman's Place and several hot meal programs. To see a list of the organizations and programs we support check our Programs section.

How many people does Burlington Food Bank feed?

Every month, over 700 people receive food from our food bank. In 2016 we provided food to over 8,500 Burlington residents; 3,400 were under the age of sixteen.

Where does Burlington Food Bank get its funding?

We receive donations from individuals, corporations, churches, sports clubs and service groups, foundations and community events that are hosted on our behalf. We rely on the generosity of these individuals and organizations to fund our operations. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our Donate Page. 

Who is eligible to get food from our food bank locations?

Anyone in need living in Burlington is welcome to visit our food banks. Clients will be asked to provide proof that they are residents of Burlington. This includes providing identification with their name and mailing addresses for all adults in the family. If you have children, you will be asked to provide proof of identification (name and birth date) such as a birth certificate, passport etc. You will also be asked for proof of monthly income, (pay slips, Child Tax Credit, etc.), a rent receipt, lease agreement, or mortgage statement in order for us to complete a needs and eligibility assessment.

How does Burlington Food Bank get its food?

Through our membership with the Ontario Association of Food Banks we recieve some food from national food retailers and producers, however most of our food comes from the many individuals who donate food to our food bank. We distribute packaged, canned, perishable and non-perishable foods that meet all Canada Food Safety Standards as well as nutrition standards as per the Canada Food Guide. Our staff and volunteers are trained in Food Handling and Safety. When food arrives, our volunteers sort the food and check for expiry dates and dents. Although we are diligent in this process, it is the food bank clients’ ultimate responsibility to check the products prior to consumption. 

What kind of food is provided?

 Clients can visit our food bank one time every 4 weeks. Food provided includes: perishable and non-perishable products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meat, dairy products, juice, bread, cereal, canned fish, meat, vegetables and fruit, stew, peanut butter, jam, macaroni and cheese, pasta sauce, soup, crackers, rice or noodles, beans, baby formula and baby food. Non-food items (e.g. tooth paste, soap, toilet paper etc.) are also frequently donated and distributed to clients. Our agency provides nutritious snack foods for school lunch and recess programs thru the generosity of the Tim Horton's Burlington Smile Cookie Program.

Hunger in Burlington

  • Did you know? Every day 10% of Burlington children are at risk of going to bed without a meal and that about 44% of all food bank clients are children.
  • In Burlington almost 17,000 people are living at or below the poverty line.
Hunger in Ontario
  • In March of this year 412,998 people were helped by food banks in Ontario. That is an increase of 31.4% since the recession began in 2008.
  • Ontario has more people using food banks than any other province in Canada (more than double that of Quebec).
  • Statistics provided by the Ontario Association of Food Banks
Hunger Nationwide
  • Hunger is on the rise in Canada. In a typical month, food banks nationwide provide food to 882,000 people (more than 339,000 of these are children).
  • Of these people, 93,000 accessed a food bank for the first time in March of 2016.

Every year, Food Banks Canada releases a HungerCount Report which takes a close look at who is accessing food banks. It reports on the amount of people turning to food banks and the key factors that contribute to why they need help. To view the 2016 HungerCount Report click here.

What We Do At Burlington Food Bank

In 2016, we provided food to over 8,500 Burlington residents; 3,400 were under the age of sixteen. We receive, inspect for expiry dates, sort, and distribute food as quickly as possible.

While most of our donations are non-perishable food items, Burlington Food Bank also supplies milk, eggs, meat and fresh fruits and vegetables to clients when available. Food is sourced through corporate and individual donations, sponsorships, and through our collaborative membership with the Ontario Association of Food Banks, and Food Banks Canada.

Local Food Drive Bulletin

Thank You Gift of Giving Back!

Another massively successful year for the Gift of Giving Back and huge thank you from us at the Burlington Food Bank!

The Gift of Giving Back in it's 12th year collected over 422 000 lbs of food for 6 local beneficiaries. Along with being a beneficiary, the Burlington Food Bank were happy to lend some hands on both days of this incredible event.

The food from this event as well as the Burlington Teen Tour Band along with the Gift of Giving Back’s collection from the Burlington Santa Claus Parade will help us as we continue on our mission of helping to feed Burlington families that find themselves in need of some help whether it be one time at Christmas or throughout the year.

Thank you Burlington for your continued support and generosity!

BOWSER BABES – September,  2017

In the fall of 1992, 25 years ago, six hockey wives formed BOWSER (Burlington Oldtimers’ Women Supplying Emergency Relief).  Their mandate was to help the less fortunate citizens of Burlington with a monthly collection of food and cash, all of which would be donated to the Burlington Food Bank.

The 3rd Sunday  of each month during the hockey season the “BOWSER BABES” are at arenas collecting non-perishable food items and household necessities. Some members prefer to donate cash in the bucket at the BOWSER table. All donations are distributed to Burlington residents.

The BOHC  (Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club), members have contributed, 83,620 food and household items as well as $215,465 all donated to Burlington Food Bank for those in need.  BOHC  is recognized as the major contributor to the Burlington Food Bank.
Our thanks go out to the BOHC members from the “BOWSER BABES” - Michele Wood, Barb Charron, Louise Addison, Carolyn Park, Pat Broadbent,  Michelle Koskinen and Gabby Longlad.


A huge thank you goes out to the Good in OUR Hood Canada 150 Street Party event held on Saturday September 9th, 2017! This party to celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial was a great success in raising over 2500 pounds of food to kick off our fall season of giving and beginning the re-stocking of our depleting food supply through the summer months. A fantastic array of food donated by Turtle Jack’s, the Teen Tour Band, Burlington Fire’s participation, Innovation Clic’s donation of the Maple Leaf template for the canned goods donations and an incredible sense of community all came together for a great cause in support of the Burlington Food Bank. Special thanks to Mary Osborne and her team for organizing this impressive event!

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What's Happening Now


In late May our shelves become perilously low. We find ourselves short of nearly everything from rice to baby food.

Burlington Food Bank was originally established by a handful of Burlington churches. So, we decided to ask Burlington churches to help us out of our situation by holding Food Drives on our behalf. The response is absolutely outstanding!

The churches respond to such a degree that we have sufficient supplies to see our way clear through the summer.

Our heartfelt thanks to the Congregations and Clergy of:

Appleby United Church

Burlington Baptist Church

Burlington Christian Reformed Church

 Burlington Fellowship Canadian Reformed Church

Eaglesfield Community Church

East Plains United Church

Port Nelson United Church

St. Christopher's Anglican Church

St. John's Anglican Church

St. John the Baptist R. C. Church

St. Luke's Anglican Church

The Meeting House

Wellington Square United Church