Edmonton Food Bank

FAQs - Hungry?

How do I collect my hamper?

A hamper will be shipped to your community depot. There are 40 community depots based on neighbourhoods throughout Edmonton. Most are located in local churches and community centres. Volunteers run the community depots. They will greet you and create an environment of mutual respect.

How often can I access a hamper?

We serve thousands of individuals and families each month and do have guidelines in place for distributing resources. Please call 780.425.4190 to confidentially speak with a Client Services worker who will try their best to help you in your current situation or direct you to where free meals are provided.

How long will my hamper last?

We provide food hampers to assist in short-term situations. Your hamper should last between 3 and 5 days. Edmonton’s Food Bank is not able to be an income supplement for an individual or family.

I can’t get through on the phone

As we are serving more than 19,000 individuals through the hamper program every month it is easy to understand why the phone lines may be busy. Our volunteers work very hard to answer as many calls as possible everyday. Phone lines open at 8:30 a.m. and volume of calls increases throughout the day, please call early. Please do not use automatic redial or texts messages as they are not compatible with our phone system.

What should I expect when I phone?

Your call will be answered by a Client Services worker who will need to ask you some personal information so that we can best serve you. For example, “what is your current address?” which will help us locate your local depot. This information is kept strictly confidential. You will be asked to provide a piece of identification (e.g. health care cards). If you are experiencing issues beyond food, our Client Services worker can refer you to other helping services.

What will be in the hamper?

The items we distribute have been donated to us. Generally, a hamper includes eggs, bread, fruit/vegetables, yogurt and non-perishables such as pasta and soup. Moreover, we cannot guarantee specific items will be in your hamper. We do our best to follow Canada’s Food Guide to provide clients with a healthy food hamper. If you have specific dietary needs, such as diabetes, please tell our Client Services worker.

Some of my hamper items have expired.

About 80% of the food given out by Edmonton’s Food Bank is food that is gleaned from the food industry. This food is safe, edible but may not be marketable for a variety of reasons. “To glean” means to “gather by patient harvest”.

In your hamper, you will find items containing a “best before” date. Best before dates are set by the manufacturer and are really about freshness, not food safety.

If you store food properly, many fresh foods like eggs, cheese and yogurt can be safely consumed after their best before date. Many packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, cereal and canned foods can be safely eaten long after the best before date. Details about food that should be discarded is available on the Health Canada Website.

Expiry dates include baby food, baby/infant formula, adult liquid meal supplements (i.e. Boost, Ensure, Glucerna, Resource, etc.), meat and milk.

Our Staff and Volunteers are trained to check labels on fresh and non-perishable food. We purchase fresh eggs weekly that are included in your hamper. They are repackaged in donated egg cartons and date stamped on the inside of the lid when packaged (If in doubt with eggs, place in a bowl of water. If the eggs sink, it is okay to eat). We hope that this information assists you in making good use of your hamper.

More information can be found at:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Health Canada website
Health Canada Guidelines for Food Banks