Using the Food Bank

Using the Food Bank

FOOD BANK CLOSURES: The last operational day for this term is Monday, April 29th. The Food Bank will re-open on Thursday, May 16th.

Using the Food Bank

There is no registration process, all that is required is a valid UBC ID. Each time you visit, we will ask for your name and student ID, this information is kept confidential.

On your first visit, you will receive 1 or 2 reusable AMS Services bag(s) that you should bring with you for any future visits. Individual customers will receive one bag and families (supporting one or more dependents) receive two. At your visit, you can shop around and fill your AMS Services bag(s) with food like you would at a grocery store. Out of respect for others, we ask that you please follow the limits posted around the Food Bank and limit your time to 10-15 minutes.

As of November 2020, all current UBC students requiring emergency food relief can use the Food Bank up to 16 times per term. This policy is in place to ensure that supplies are available to all those in emergency situations who need it. Terms run from September-December, January-April and May-August.

If our resources are not meeting your needs, our staff will provide referrals to other Lower Mainland food banks and sources of financial assistance.

The Food Bank’s policies and guidelines for sorting and distribution of food items outline how we determine what food is suitable for food bank client consumption. It can be found here: AMS of UBC Food Bank Food Distribution Guidelines

Usage Statistic Trends

The following graph shows the number of visits we’ve had each academic year (May 1-April 30), dating back to 2006. A “visit” is a time that the food bank is accessed by any student. Also, keep in mind that around 50% of our clients support dependents such as children, so a visit may feed 1 person, or a family of 5 for example. 

Questions about our usage statistics, please contact foodbank@ams.ubc.ca.

Additionally, the AMS Food Bank Team has worked in collaboration with the AMS Academic & University Affairs office to produce the following infographic to increase awareness about the prevalence of campus food security and about how to access the AMS Food Bank: Food Bank Infographic 2021

Food Bank Policies 

  • Family pack: Clients must show proof of dependents before being able to pick up a family sized food pack. To do this, please bring a piece of government-issued ID (does not need to be Canadian) for any dependents that you support on your first visit this term (ex. BC Services Card, birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, etc). We do not accept photos or copies of IDs for dependents, you must bring the physical ID. After this initial verification, you will be able to pick up a family pack for all future visits in this term without showing ID for dependents.
    •  A dependent is anyone who relies on you as their primary source of income. This can include children, parents, or a significant other. Please remember that for the purpose of the Food Bank, dependents cannot be other UBC students, as we ask that all students pick up their own food packs.  
  • First term visit: During your first visit to the AMS Food Bank this term, students must be collecting food for themselves. The student indicated on the ID card must be the person collecting food for the first visit. If you wish to authorize someone else to pick up for you for the rest of the term, inform check-in staff of the names of the people you are authorizing during a visit prior to them coming to the Food Bank on your your behalf.  
  • Number of people/card: Only two people can come inside the Food Bank per student card. This means the student card holder (or an authorized alternative person) can be present along with one other person only. All other members of your group should wait outside away from the Food Bank (there is seating nearby in the Life Building and Nest). 
  • Re-packing bags: If you need to re-organize your food in your bag, please do so outside of the Food Bank or at the designated repacking table at the back of the Food Bank. 
  • Product availability: Only items at distribution tables are available for selection. If we are out of a staple item such as milk or eggs, or if you have a dietary restriction, please ask a staff member or volunteer for help. Staff cannot search through back-inventory for specific donated items, to ensure fairness for clients who come to the Food Bank throughout the day.  
  • Lineup guideline: Bags cannot be used as placeholders in the Food Bank line. 
  • Intake survey: At the start of each term, clients are asked to complete the intake survey before using the Food Bank. There is a QR code at the main entrance of the Food Bank or you can fill in the survey ahead of time through this link. Please take a picture of the code at the end of the survey to show front desk staff.