Food4Kids Hamilton 407 Whitney Avenue

I was happy to stop by the office of Food4Kids, tucked away nicely in a West End neighbourhood, to learn more about this not-for-profit organization that I had heard of, but did not know much about.

To quote from their official site:
Food4Kids provides backpacks of healthy food for kids aged 5 – 14 years with limited or no access to food each weekend. Packages of healthy food are prepared by volunteers and delivered to schools each Friday to ensure children have nourishment over the weekend. Each food package contains kid friendly, non-perishable and easy to prepare meals with maximum nutrient value. Over 1,200 children in Hamilton, 250 in Halton and 600 in Niagara sustain each and every weekend without food. Help fight child hunger in our own community. When kids leave school for the weekend, they should not have to worry about how they will be fed. – via Food4Kids

Names of groups who donate to Food4Kids are written on the leaves of their tree,
Names of groups who donate to Food4Kids are written on the leaves of their tree,

I was able to talk with Executive Director Lena Bassford and get a tour of Food4Kids. Lena is so warm and lovely – meeting someone who is so passionate about the cause was really inspiring. Lena has experience as the regional manager of breakfast programs, and one day, after an interaction with a child who was waiting outside a school breakfast program, it sparked inspiration to begin Food4Kids. Lena realized how many children go hungry over weekends and wanted to start a program to help those in need.

They work with the schools to assess who is in need of the program and get referrals for children who meet the requirement. I had a look at the map of Hamilton on the wall (a neat perspective of the city to see) which marks which schools the program is currently in, and where they want the program to be, as Food4Kids continues to grow.


Lena passionately and confidently stated that their goal at Food4Kids is achievable. She affirmed that no child should have to go hungry, and although we can never alleviate hunger, it’s our responsibility to do what we can to help others. This depends on the support of the community, and Food4Kids has already grown significantly with the support of Hamilton.

Lena spoke of the unpretentiousness of Hamilton and people’s willingness to step forward and help. From the new yoga studio Blossom which is located next door to the office, who donated proceeds from their grand opening to Food4Kids, to a woman in the East End who held a neighbourhood garage sale to support the cause, Lena says the community has been amazing.


Along with fundraising efforts by community members (another great one is the Cocktail Showcase, an event I’m planning to hit up!) Food4Kids also receives generous donations from companies who come on board as sponsors. Lena stressed how important it is for them to allot as much money as possible to the cause. For their office space, for example, things like the flooring and the bins used to store the food were all donated.

Another aspect I love about the program is that not only are they providing food, but the focus is also on nutrition and making sure the food is healthy. They have a set menu they work with, and even go out of their way to plan a variety of foods, including different types of fruit that the children may not have ever tried before. Lena mentioned kiwis and mangoes as fruits they have packaged, along with the standard and equally as important apples, oranges, and bananas.


I got to read a few thank you cards given to Food4Kids by some of the kids who benefit from the program. It was so sweet reading a child’s note stating they were introduced to a new fruit, thanking Food4Kids.

Next time, I hope to drop by on a Wednesday to volunteer during one of their weekly food packing sessions. As Lena said, each is packed with love. From those who pack the food, to the drivers who deliver the food to schools each week, it’s amazing knowing that people are volunteering their time to such an fantastic cause.

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *