Update on Victoria’s Food Security Future and How The Mustard Seed is Helping (nov 2016)
“It is so helpful and I so need that help. The cost of food has increased so much. I can remember getting way more food for my money – it is pretty stressful thinking that I only have so much I can spend on food and then after that it is gone and I try to plan meals and I enjoy cooking, but it is so hard. The hamper supplies me with food between cheques.” a hamper recipient
“We will be giving families and children a better start to their day, and it [The Food Rescue Project] will help take away that unfortunate choice people have to make between paying bills and purchasing healthy food items,” celebrates Derek Pace, Food Security Manager at The Mustard Seed Street Church.”
The Mustard Seed Street Church will continue to participate and play an even larger role in regional food security which became a priority in 2013 with the creation of the Food Share Network. We have secured an additional 13,500 square foot location and will devote the space for food rescue projects (food gleaning and cleaning), as well as food bank and warehousing, and the final distribution of fresh food to the other 40-50 member organizations of The Food Share Network.
The current Mustard Seed location will remain the home of the Food Security Ministry hamper distribution as well as the Hospitality Ministry and Family Center (Hope Farm Ministry operates in Duncan). “Roughly 2,200 hampers are directly distributed to guests and clients of The Mustard Seed Street Church impacting 5,000 individuals on a monthly basis from our current location, explains Derek Pace. “The Mustard Seed already works with 30 of the Food Share Network organizations that provide food to their individual and family guests in their neighbourhoods of operation.”
The Food Rescue Project will create reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritious food. In addition to increasing food access, the project will create opportunities for food literacy, education around nutrition, ecology and the importance of the local food economy. Rescued food will be a tool to nourish and connect to people as well as create opportunities for skills development.
Increased warehouse space to access, process and re-distribute food will result in the ability to handle increased volumes of perishable food. In fact, The Mustard Seed will be able to receive and distribute approximately twice as much food in 2017 as it did in 2016. This additional food will be directed to Food Share Network partners, as well as to under-served populations or the “hidden hungry” in our region. The Mustard Seed and its partners will be connecting this nutritious food to low-income seniors, people with disabilities, First Nations and vulnerable schools.
The first day of operation at the warehouse in Esquimalt is anticipated for December 12, 2016. Approximately 4,000 lbs of fresh food will be picked up daily from 9 participating Thrifty Foods Stores. The Mustard Seed Street Church staff, volunteers and community are eagerly awaiting the start of this innovative project and are grateful for your continued gifts of volunteerism, financial resources, food and prayer.
If you find yourself in a difficult place, know that the Mustard Seed Food Bank welcomes you with dignity, regardless of your situation. We are here to help you set the table for you and your family!
Christmas Food Hampers - We offer Christmas hampers 1-2 weeks prior to the holiday to individuals and families in need. Sign-up for hampers happens through Guest Services from October to December. Spots fill quickly, so please apply early. We work with other agencies in Victoria to ensure we all can assist as many as possible, so if we reach capacity or you miss sign-up, we can assist you by referring you to another available agency.
About Food Security:
The cost of living is high in Victoria, and many people for any number of reasons might find their monthly budget stretched to the point of breaking. After rent is covered, bills are paid, and transportation costs are scraped together, there isn't enough money left over to cover basic food and personal needs.
That’s where we come in. The Mustard Seed Food Bank was established in 1983 as a response to increasing need in Victoria, and has expanded to become the largest food bank on Vancouver Island. Today, the Food Security ministry assists up to 5,000 individuals each month from many different walks of life and situations.
Each week we receive donations of food and funds from caring citizens, concerned companies, and generous food manufacturers. These consistent donations enable us to put food on our shelves for those in need. Every week our staff and volunteers are busy collecting, receiving, inspecting, sorting, and packaging these items into nutritious hampers for neighbours that need assistance.
In an effort to continue providing healthy, fresh food options and reduce food waste in Victoria, we have collaborated The Victoria Foundation, The Rotary Club of Victoria, Thrifty Foods, and other social agencies in Victoria to establish the Food Share Network and Food Rescue Program. Collectively, we aim to divert imperfect but fresh and edible food from landfills to tables of Victorians in need, and broaden our reach to help as many individuals as possible.
The Mustard Seed is a proud member of: