MAKING A DIFFERENCE
At the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre we are committed to ensuring a food secure community wherein all people have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food. Our programs and strategic partnerships aim to address the underlying issues contributing to hunger and poverty.
Together, we strive to solve hunger and create a hunger-free community.
Emergency Food Basket Program
Emergency nutrition is available to community members who have nowhere else to turn. Our Emergency Food Basket Program helps provide 2-3 days of nutritious food items for families and individuals. In one year, 85,750 food baskets were distributed and directly impacted 233,964 family members.
Last year, our Milk for Children Program provided 97,612 litres of fresh milk to children 17 years and younger and pregnant or nursing mothers to ensure children receive the nutrients necessary to sustain their growth and development.
Creating Opportunities Strategy
Creating Opportunities offers two streams: Literacy Program and Workplace Experience Program.
The Creating Opportunities participants earned 67 certificates in the last 11 months. This included:
- Forklift Operating Safety Training
- Safety Construction Orientation Training
- First Aid & CPR
- Serve It Right
- Service Best
The Literacy Program aims to help individuals improve their literacy, math and computer skills.
Of the 29 participants registered since 2017, 14 people completed the program or found employment. These participants learned the fundamental skills in writing a resume, conducting an online job search, and improving their reading comprehension. We are proud that the Literacy Program continues to offer a strong foundation for learners.
Our Workplace Experience Program helps individuals gain valuable skills and experience to assist with the transition to enter (or re-enter) the workforce. Participants gain hands-on experience and receive the tools and necessary support to help achieve their personal and professional goals. Following our last two sessions, we were thrilled to see 70% of the Workplace Experience Program graduates secure employment or pursue higher education.
Urban Agriculture Program (Garden Patch)
Not only does the Garden Patch grow thousands of pounds of produce for the Emergency Food Basket Program (17,825 lbs in 2017), the Garden Patch also hosts a number of educational workshops throughout the season for anyone interested in learning how to garden.
We focus our workshops on education and encouraging sustainable food sources. We provide seeds/vegetables and work alongside community members to offer the resources required to grow, store, and care for their fruits and vegetables. This approach helps reduce waste and cost while supporting food security in our community.
Our little shop offers community members the opportunity to shop in a traditional retail environment for a nominal fee for service. This direct cost savings means more money in community members pockets and the opportunity to use these funds to pay for rent, groceries, bills, etc.
Community members often come to the Clothing Depot to celebrate special occasions, like graduation and back to school. In 2018, we hosted our first Glam Grad Day and offered soon-to-be graduates a one-stop shopping experience. We were thrilled to help students celebrate this milestone by providing beautiful outfits and accessories for their big day.
The Clothing Depot supports every family member - pets included! Because we understand the emotional support animal companions provide, we are also happy to offer pet food to our customers.
"Thank you for being there when my funds are low. Rent and power take everything and I love that this service is here."
Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
We're happy to report final numbers from the spring’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Our team of 31 volunteers filed 5,053 tax returns, bringing $19,700,193 back into the local community through benefits, credits, and refunds. These are the highest numbers associated with the program to date! These funds in people’s pockets allow rent to be paid, groceries to be bought, and other household and children’s items to be purchased by community members living on lower incomes.
Our cooking classes, like all of our programs, are designed with community members in mind. We focus the classes on preparing healthy and affordable meals, often using food items commonly received in Emergency Food Baskets. By introducing participants to new recipes and food items, community members can maximize the contents of their basket.
In February 2018, we introduced FoodFit, a 12-week program intended for low-income community members who experience barriers around healthy eating and physical activity. To date, we have seen 12 motivated graduates complete the program with the knowledge and confidence to implement these changes in their everyday lives. From increasing their daily physical activity to experimenting with new healthy recipes, these graduates have wholeheartedly embraced a new healthy lifestyle.
The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre welcomes approximately 1,609 volunteers hours per month. We invite volunteers from all different walks of life and abilities. We enjoy seeing diverse groups of volunteers making a difference in our community - students of all ages, small businesses, large corporations, groups from the faith community, etc. Our volunteers play an integral role in the daily operations of the SFBLC and we are very grateful for every individual and group that chooses to take action against poverty and hunger in our community.
Community members are welcome to complete their community service hours at the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. Many of the people who complete their hours, return to volunteer. This experience helps strengthen human capacity, creates strong community connections, and increases social capital.
Hunger and poverty are associated with poorer health, psychological, social, and emotional outcomes. We often partner with other community-minded organizations to ensure a broad range of services and resources available to community members. In the past 12 months, we have offered:
- 1,100 hours of free counselling through CFS Saskatoon
- a safe environment for the Saskatchewan Health Authority to host flu clinics.
- a forum for the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) to educate and inform community members about the provincial law and the legal system.
- opportunities for SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) to speak directly with community members about their services (speech language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, reiki, naturopathic medicine, herbology, reflexology, cultural supports, gynecology, pediatrics, and pharmacy).
- an avenue for the City of Saskatoon to speak to community members about the Leisure Card Program offered to low income families.
We have also partnered with the following organizations to ensure community members are aware of various resources available:
- READ Saskatoon
- Newcomer Information Centre
- YWCA Woman & Trades
- CHEP Good Food Inc.
- Parent Aide Program
- Sexual Health Clinic
- Saskatoon Prevention Institute
Advocating for Change
Members of the SFBLC team partner on a variety of collaborative efforts in the community, such as the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Saskatoon Reconciliation Committee, Saskatoon Literacy Coalition, Saskatchewan Career Development Association, Local Immigration Partnership (City of Saskatoon), and YXE Connects. We also have representation on a number of action teams and working groups which fall under the umbrella of the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership (SPRP), including:
- Building Awareness Group
- Food Security Action Team
- ‘Second Chance Food’ Working Group
- Business Community Action Team
- ‘Living Wage YXE’ Advisory Group
- First Voice Inclusion Action Team
- SPRP Leadership Committee, and
- Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Plan Working Group
These partnerships enable us to find common agendas for awareness-raising, activities, and
systems change around poverty, food insecurity, literacy, employment, and reconciliation in
We welcome you to review our most recent audited financial statements.