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Charity Intelligence

Food insecurity is a serious health problem in Canada. It is linked to poor health, and is a barrier to psychological, social, and emotional well-being.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only made these challenges more acute. In Saskatchewan, more than one in ten households and 19 per cent of children experience food insecurity. Since Regina Food Bank’s founding in 1982, we have evolved from a short-term solution to a key partner in Regina’s ongoing fight against food insecurity. We are committed to making sure the voices of those we serve, our agency partners, our donors, and our volunteers are included as part of a culture of continuous improvement.   

View Regina Food Bank’s 2020 – 2021 summary financial statements here. 

ABOUT US

Regina Food Bank is Regina’s largest direct service provider supporting those facing food insecurity. Addressing the food is our first step as part of being a hub of collective impact, connecting people with the community partners and their programs that will help meet their needs holistically. Our relationships in the community and food support to hundreds of other agencies means we can work collaboratively towards solving the problem of food insecurity in Regina.

VOLUNTEER & STAFF

9647.5 HOURS OF VOLUNTEERING

  • Staff 74%
  • Volunteers 26% 

FUND CONTRIBUTION SOURCES

  • Personal $1,321,211
  • Grants and programs $74,973.35
  • Corporations $542,861

ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES

$1,350,097 SPENT ON PROGRAMMING

  • $1,055,372 Food Hampers
  • $81,709 Non Food Reclamation
  • $13,730 Financial Literacy 

FOOD HAMPERS

PROGRAM DISCUSSION

The Food Hamper Program is the core activity of the Regina Food Bank as we fight hunger and feed hope.  Food Hampers are designed to meet the needs of people facing food insecurity today.  Hampers are delivered both directly by the Regina Food Bank and through our network of over 120 community partners.

Those we serve can receive a Food Hamper every two weeks and is an assortment of food items providing 7 to ten days’ worth of food to clients based on the household’s size. The composition of each hamper strives to meet Canada’s Food Guide. We are developing variations from the standard hamper and will have a vegetarian and halal option available by spring 2021.

CAUSES Food insecurity in Canada continues to be prominent. As per data collected between 2015 and 2018, in the Regina region has seen the percentage of marginal, moderate or severe food insecurity rise from 13.7% to 15.3%[1].  This insecurity is currently being affected by Regina’s unemployment rate, reaching 7.3% in February 2021[2]. Low household income, which can be created by unemployment, is the leading cause of food insecurity[3] [3].

EFFECTS There are a number of negative outcomes related to food insecurity, including poor physical and mental health, and increased risk of chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, heart issues, etc.), which creates a drain on the Canadian health care system.

WHO IS AFFECTED The Food Hamper Program is designed for individuals or households that cannot access food due to financial constraints.

OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

Food Hampers provide clients in temporary emergency situations with 7 to 10 days worth of food and when possible referrals to outside organizations. Food is provided to low-income and food insecure residents of Regina. We connect clients with community resources that can address the underlying issues of food insecurity. 7% of clients are referred to other community agencies.

GOALS The goals for the program are to be within 10%, plus or minus in the coming fiscal year. Our goals in 2020/21 was greatly impacted by Covid 19, we distributed 64,130 hampers and served 71,555 individuals providing 114,970 points of service in our community.  These totals far surpassed our goals for people supported and hampers delivered. Our goal for referring to agencies was not met, and this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic where some of agency partners were closed.

We are projecting for 2021/22, the number of Hampers distributed to be between 55,430 (min) and 70,567 (max).

We are projecting for 2021/22, the number of referrals to agencies to be between 3,312 (min) and 4,002 (max).

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES Relieving food insecurity and providing support for those experiencing food insecurity. Alleviate the stress of wondering where the next meal is coming from.

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES Creating a hunger-free community.

DESCRIPTIONS AND DEFINITIONS

UNIQUE CLIENTS
This is calculated by counting all members of the household only once, irrespective of their number of visits to the program.

POINTS OF SERVICE
This is calculated using the total number of individuals who are supported and include those who make multiple visits to the food bank in a year.

REFERRALS TO AGENCIES
A referral out is where a client, calling into the Regina Food Bank, is provided with information about community supports that can help address their underlying root cause of food insecurity. Clients may receive a referral at anytime they call our call centre, they do not necessarily have to book an hamper in order to receive a referral to an agency.

CLIENTS HELPED BY AGENCIES
A critical part of the Emergency Food Hamper program’s theory is that the clients build connections and receive referrals to available community services for their needs.

What’s in a Hamper?

Based on the Canada’s Food Guide[4] Hampers contain a balanced variety of food including fresh dairy, fresh and frozen protein, fresh and canned vegetables, shelf stable dry goods and breads and grains. They contain 7 to 10 days food, and a hamper typically contains the following content:
Canned Soup x2

Canned protein x3

Dry pasta x2

Crackers x1

Cereal Bars x 1

Cookies x1

Fresh Vegetables (3 types)

Fresh fruit (2 types)

Dairy x3

Protein (approx 2lbs)

Bread x1

Pastries x1

Misc x 2 

2020/2021 2019/2020 2018/2019 2017/2018
Hampers provided 64,130 48550 47966 48573
Unique clients 71,555 37534 35351 38371
Unique clients under 18 29,907 24057 27009 26792
Points of Service 114,970 86835 87369 89851
Referres to agencies 3,312 N/A N/A N/A
Agencies/programs sending referrals to the Food Bank 35 33 27 24

AGE BREAKDOWN

  • Female Children 35%
  • Female Adults 65%
  • Male Children 38%
  • Male Adults 62%

LEARNINGS

We participate in numerous program evaluation activities that have led to a number of learnings:

  • The voice of the people we serve are available to provide more feedback about their experiences and we should heard be included in data collection methods.
  • The pandemic challenged many assumptions about accessibility.  Service delivery review will need to be prioritized in 2021/2022.
  • Standard hamper composition created a viable process to ensure service could continued in a Covid responsible way but had a significant negative impact on our capacity to deliver choice to those we serve.
  • Demand spike highletde the need to develop performance measures around hamper composition by household size.
  • Multiple client serveys were conducted to collect clients’ feedback on their experiences to gain in-depth understanding of their perspectives. These perspectives continue to inform our decision-making.
  • We are in the process of determining a criteria that can be used to strengthen partnerships with available community resources to ensure best possible support outcomes for those we serve.

Non Food Reclamation

PROGRAM DISCUSSION

The Non Food Reclamation Program partners with retail partners to act as a centralized distribution hub for non food products.  The program provides non food products from essential hygiene products to the household items including cleaning essentials, kitchen & food storage to school supplies and baby products to agency partners to make sure these products are distributed in the community in the most effective way possible.  This year we enrolled five new partner agencies into our program, bringing our total number of local partners to 104.

The Regina Food Bank has seen a significant increase in demand for our services through the onset of Covid-19; our Reclamation Program is no different.  Through the end of 2020 we saw an increase of 37.7% in product distributed to partners:

  • 2019 – 102,764 lbs
  • 2020 – 141,542 lbs

In 2020 we introduced protocols to ensure that our operations are Covid-19 responsible.  Each person entering our facility to complete a screening questionnaire, have introduced hand sanitizing stations, created a limit two people per organization inside our warehouse in keeping with social distancing recommendations, and enhanced cleaning protocols.

CAUSES While addressing the immediate food needs of those facing food insecurity is the mission critical activity of the Regina Food Bank we have been able to create a supply chain for non food items.  By distributing these items in the community we can create additional supports for those facing food insecurity by sourcing and distributing product and reduce over expense burden on a individual or household.

EFFECTS By provide goods with along with the provision of food we can support greater autonomy in those we serve.  For some it means that staple non food items are available that would otherwise be unattainable, for others it allows for a shift in spending patterns as household items are available to them.

WHO IS AFFECTED Agencies that support and distribute non food items to population in need.  Unlike the Food Hamper Program, the Retail Reclamation program does not directly connect with the food insecure population receiving the hampers. We work with agencies that are based in Regina and work cooperatively to get products out to the people in need in our community.  We rely on qualitative reporting by the agencies accessing the program to evaluate the impact. According to the reporting by the agencies, the largest segment of the target population that received product are categorized as moderately or severely food insecure.

OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

The Non Food Reclamation Program food insecurity by providing the short-term relief of hunger to those living rough. The root causes of long-term hunger are also addressed as clients are given hampers by organizations which provide support for individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The food acts as a connector and allows agencies to work with individuals to transition them out of poverty. This program reduces poverty by relieving some financial and mental strain on those living rough, and allowing individuals to use the funds and resources to move into a stable shelter situation. We collaborate with 12 non-profit agencies that are working with the homeless population.

GOALS The goals for the program are to be within 10%, plus or minus in the coming fiscal year.

We are projecting for 2021/22, the total pounds of product distributed to be between 111,634 and 135,292 lbs to be between 93 (min) and 117 (max) agencies.

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES By supplying no food products both individuals and organizations can allocate resources to efforts that create greater autonomy and capacity for those facing food insecurity.

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES Creating a hunger-free community. 

2020/2021 2019/2020 2018/2019 2017/2018
Pounds of Product Distributed 147,042 102,764  168,808 90,763
Agency Partners 104  99 93 98
Volunteer hours 113 hours  186.5 hours  240 hours  N/A
Staff Hours  2757  2757  2757  2757

LEARNINGS

We participate in numerous program evaluation activities that have led to a number of learnings:

  • Every product has a use for someone! Don’t discount or place a label on the use of an item as it holds value for someone. When I sign up a new organization, I always tell them “Your imagination is the only thing that will hold you back”
  • Products have incredible flexibility when grouped effectively. For example creating packages of equipment needed for cooking classes and giving it to participants can be a more empowering way to distribute than dispersing the individual tools..
  • The Reclamation program has potential to be a key enabler to effective distribution of bulk food products that can be effectively used by community partners but are present barriers to household use.
  • Be open to change to meet the needs of the community. The program evolves and changes to meet the volume of demand. 

Financial Literacy

PROGRAM DISCUSSION

The Personal Financial Management Course provides an opportunity to increase financial literacy and develop knowledge, skills, and confidence to make financial decisions that fit with your life. The course is made of three main sections: Budgeting Banking & Credit/Debt.

  1. Budgeting: Participants will experience activities designed to build knowledge of the value and process of budgeting. Each participant will develop or revisit their budget, based on their unique financial needs, wants and circumstances.
  2. Banking: Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of banking and the basic tools and guiding principles to assist them with their banking experiences.
  3. Credit/Debt: Explores the importance of building good credit, how to avoid credit crisis, debt repayment strategies and how to repair credit history.

The program is offered online, providing learners with a flexible learning experience to complete the course at their own pace.

CAUSES Food insecurity, not having consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy lives for all household members, is most common among low-income households. However, income alone is not sufficient to explain who experiences food insecurity. studies investigating the relationship between financial literacy and food security find that low-income households who exhibit financial literacy are less likely to experience food insecurity.

Food insecurity may manifest with a switch to less costly, less nutritious food or reduced total consumption of food for some or all household members; at its most extreme individuals will go without food for an entire day or days. Regardless of household income, those who fail to smooth spending between pay periods and who lack access to credit may struggle to ingest adequate food intakes throughout the month (Zaki, 2014).

Even high income households can experience food insecurity if income is uneven throughout the year (Nord and Brent, 2002; Gunderson and Gruber, 2001). Furthermore, Gunderson et al. (2011) find that unemployment is a strong predictor of food insecurity. However, those with higher degrees of financial literacy might be more likely to hold savings that could protect them from this instability and help them avoid food insecurity.

Poverty and Food insecurity are complex problems with many causes. Financial empowerment is one pillar of opportunity to support some people who live with food insecurity.  Complex problems often require a multi-prong approach of support.

EFFECTS A financial empowerment approach to poverty reduction helps low-income people participate and feel included in Canadas financial system. It increases their opportunities and knowledge and fosters behaviours that are critical to their economic security and their ability to invest in their future.

WHO IS AFFECTED? Anyone can be affected by food insecurity, those with higher risks of any food insecurity are younger age groups (children, 16-24 and 25-34); non-white identity; low levels of education; unemployment; life-limiting health problems or disabilities; incomes in the lowest income quartile.

OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

GOALS To provide online financial literacy training to low-income community members who utilize the Regina Food Bank or any of their partner agencies.

SHORT-TERM OUTCOMES Participants in the program acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.

  • More control over your personal finances when you understand financial basics, which can lead to more overall confidence, as finances affect everyone’s life in every way.
  • More control means possibly less debt as you have a better sense about the impact of debt on your budget, cash flow, savings, credit report.
  • Understand the importance of saving and starting to save as soon as possible, even if it’s just a small amount.
  • More likely to set financial goals for yourself and have the desire to work toward those goals, which often means putting off the wants of today to save for the needs of tomorrow.

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES Creating a hunger-free community. Greater participation in the economy.

2019 Financial Literacy Class RESP Sessions* Birth Certificates Secured* Personal* Sessions
217 people 2

 

67 4
2018 202 N/A N/A N/A
2017 170 N/A N/A N/A
2016 219 N/A N/A N/A

*new in 2019

LEARNINGS

We participate in numerous program evaluation activities that have led to a number of learnings:

  • Many of the participants in the program do no have access to key pieces of documentation required to access programs such as tax benefits.  Pre pandemic made an effort to connect people with basic forms of identification including birth certificates.
  • The pandemic created barriers to in person programing but engagement in online delivered programing was higher than anticipated.
  • Programing flexibility is a key component of meeting the needs of participants.  Moving toward core fidelity elements instead of curriculum standards has made the program more adaptable and better value to participants.

[1] Tarasuk V, Mitchell A. (2020) Household food insecurity in Canada, 2017-18. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF).

[2] https://dashboard.saskatchewan.ca/business-economy/employment-labour-market/unemployment-rate

[3] Food Banks Canada, “HungerCount 2018,” Food Banks Canada, Mississauga, 2019.

[4] https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/