Food Assistance

Food assistance programs provide food for people who are hungry because of emergency crisis situations like war, droughts, or floods. Through food assistance, we help people survive through what might otherwise be devastating loss.

An example of one of our food assistance projects is in South Sudan, where we are providing monthly food baskets for people forced to flee their homes because of violent conflict.

In 2018-19, we provided $23 million for food assistance programming.

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History of Food Assistance at Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Early in the Foodgrains Bank’s history, much of the food sent overseas was supplied from Canada. This was due to a Canadian government policy that required government funds to be used to buy food grown in Canada.

In 2008, the Government of Canada changed this rule, making it possible for the Foodgrains Bank to use government funds to buy food closer to the area of need in the developing world.

This not only improves the timeliness of delivery in emergency situations (reducing the time needed to get food to hungry people from four to eight weeks to two to three weeks), it reduces costs, ensures the right type of food is provided, and supports local farmers.


Food assistance can be delivered in many different ways. Food rations are often distributed directly to people who need it. Other times vouchers or cash are given to people in need so that they can get food from the local market.

Each situation is unique; the Foodgrains Bank works closely with its members and their partners to determine the most appropriate form of assistance for each specific context.