Project Researchers

Project Description

IFSSA primarily serves newcomers and refugees, and was one of the primary responders to the Syrian refugee crisis in Edmonton. IFSSA has seen significant growth in demand for its services and is one of the largest food depots in the city (IFSSA distributes over 2500 hampers a month). IFSSA presently serves more people in one month than it did in all of 2011. This growth has stretched IFSSA’s resources, and led to a desire to better understand the needs of long-term clients, and identifying thoughtful approaches of increasing their independence.

IFSSA wants to work with credible local research partners who bring deep insights, an understanding of the social services sector & knowledge of working with vulnerable populations.

This work will help IFSSA:

  1. Use research and best practices to inform decision making.
  2. Ensure proper ethics approval and honouring of clients, their data and stories.
  3. Be collaborative and support broader efforts at addressing food security and poverty.
  4. Use an “assets based” perspective that recognizes skills and resources our clients have, not only deficits.

Key Questions:

  1. What are the gaps in service & unmet needs that IFSSA’s clients are facing?
  2. What are the barriers to them accessing other services?  
  3. How are they being socialized?
  4. What can be done to reduce isolation?
  5. How can IFSSA best facilitate their clients independence?
  6. What interventions would be more effective and cost comparative to delivering food hampers?
  7. What assets and skills do IFSSA clients have that are being underutilized?


  1. Literature Review
  2. Focus Groups
  3. Interviews

End Product: The desired end product is a report that outlines how IFSSA could better facilitate the independence of its long-term clients by providing recommendations on:

  1. Referrals and partner agencies to work with and how to integrate services
  2. Alternative/complementary supports to offer clients.
  3. Improving the intake process.
  4. Journey Maps for clients.
  5. Optimizing long-term support and exploring alternative options of support