WATCH: Volunteers at the Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria say the situation is critical. The organization usually feeds about 7,000 people per month but this year, donations are down and food bank shelves are nearly empty. Kori Sidaway has more.
Right now the shelves at Vancouver Island’s largest food bank are near empty.
“This would be packed as tall as I am with pallets full of food and it’s completely bare!” said Mustard Seed Street Church volunteer Janette Goodwin.
The shortage has Mustard Seed more than worried.
“It’s scary to be honest, people are still coming and we need to take care of them,” said Janiene Boice, Mustard Seed’s director of development.
Donations typically drop off in the fall, but the Mustard Seed’s reserves have never been this low.
“Donations are down, just coming out of August and September our donations usually drop, but we’ve seen a significant drop this year over last year,” said Mustard Seed’s interim executive director Derek Pace.
Mustard Seed feeds 7,000 people every month with their hot meal and grocery hamper programs. Lisa Dalziel needs the food bank to help put meals on the table for her three kids.
“It definitely gets me through the hump. From paycheque to paycheque for sure. I definitely depend on it,” said Dalziel.
The Mustard Seed says it desperately needs the public to pitch in.
“Our shelves are just bare. We are out of food and we need the community’s help,” said Boice.
“We’re always looking for proteins for children and lunches going back to school.”
And while donations of food are always welcome, cash donations go even further. Unlike the average grocery shopper, the Mustard Seed can buy food at wholesale prices.
“So 47 dollars will actually feed a family of four at the Mustard Seed, and usually people can find 47 dollars without thinking twice,” said Boice.
In the meantime, the staff is doing what they can with what they have.
“With the small amount that came in this morning, we’re just breathing a sigh of relief, because it means that we don’t turn away today,” said Goodwin.
But the volunteers say with Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, they hope they will have an increase in donations to be thankful for.