Ottawa Food Bank Moves to a Healthier Future

Ottawa Food Bank’s Fundraising Campaign for a New Home.

Anybody watching their grocery store receipts in the past couple of years has noticed a spike in the cost of groceries. Even if you haven't been paying attention, the post-pandemic rise in food costs brought on by supply chain issues, transportation costs, climate change, trade policies and international conflicts would be difficult to miss. 

While many of us grumble about the cost of groceries, thousands of people in our city of Ottawa and cities, towns and rural areas across Canada are struggling with food insecurity. When individuals and families have difficulty obtaining enough healthy and nutritious food, the consequences can be severe for physical, mental, and social health and increase the risk of chronic diseases, malnutrition, anxiety, and depression.

Becoming part of a campaign to combat food insecurity in our region. 

In early 2022, Melanie Adams, our friend, colleague and frequent collaborator on successful fundraising campaigns, told us about a capital campaign she may be working on for the Ottawa Food Bank. After hearing about the dramatic rise in food insecurity in Ottawa and the objectives of the fundraising campaign, we were keen to be involved. 

We were long-time fans of the work done by the Ottawa Food Bank but didn't know much about them beyond the wonderful things we heard from other Ottawa area non-profits and people in the business community. It turned out all the good things we heard were true. 

The Ottawa Food Bank is the primary emergency food provider in the greater Ottawa area, providing thousands of people with food each month through more than 100 community food programs. Over one in three people served is a child; each day, they distribute 14 tons of food. Many are surprised to learn they operate a mostly volunteer-run farm in Stittsville, in western Ottawa. 

Moving to Keep Pace with Demand.

In the two years before we started working with them, the Ottawa Food Bank had seen a historical increase in monthly demand, showing no signs of letting up. Its warehouse on Michael Street was no longer sufficient, and the organization had decided to move to a larger leased, purpose-built facility on Bantree Street. Its new facility would increase cold storage by almost 300%, allowing them to provide more fresh and frozen foods, including dairy, proteins, and produce, leading to better health outcomes for those accessing a food bank in Ottawa.

Our job was to develop an umbrella theme for the campaign, produce a case for support used to educate donors and create the graphics and collateral materials to support the campaign, everything from fact sheets to presentations, proposals, television spots and building signage. 

“McGill Buckley brought strategy, creativity, and teamwork to our successful campaign. They were with us and supported us every step of the way.”

Tricia Johnson, CFRE, Director of Communications and Development, Ottawa Food Bank

Moving to a Healthier Future, a Campaign Takes Shape. 

We began by immersing ourselves in the organization, its community partners, food insecurity, and the relocation project. We interviewed stakeholders, including board members, leadership, staff, donors and community partners. We connected the campaign to how it would address the community's urgent needs and support the Ottawa Food Bank's brand and vision. 

Ultimately we presented Moving to a Healthier Future as the umbrella theme for the campaign and a look and feel to campaign materials that reflected the diversity of our community and programs and the innovative work done by the Ottawa Food Bank. 

In April 2023, after a successful campaign, the Ottawa Food Bank moved into its new 42,000-square-foot facility and a healthier future for thousands of people across the National Capital Region. We're proud to have played a small role in making their move possible.