WATCH: A food rescue distribution centre in Esquimalt will increase the quality and quantity of food available to those in need across the Capital Region. Ceilidh Millar reports.
A group of community organizations have transformed a warehouse into a facility that will help thousands of people in need.
“This will literally address food insecurity across the region” explained Bruce Curtiss, executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church.
The Food Rescue Distribution Centre at 808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt will collect non-sellable perishable food like fresh produce, dairy, meat and grocery surplus from Thrifty Foods that is normally composted or thrown out.
“We can redistribute [the food] to those who are hungry in our community,” said Ralph Mundel, senior director of operations for Thrifty Foods. “It feels a lot better than putting it into the compost.”
After the items are collected from the nine participating Thrifty Foods stores, it will be cleaned and sorted before it’s re-distributed by the Mustard Seed to 40 partners of the Food Share Network.
“We’re improving people’s health by putting better quality food on their tables” explained Curtiss.
The supply will provide nutritious food to nearly 50,000 people across the Capital Region.
“14 percent of people in our region are food insecure,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “It’s a big number.”
“As the rent keeps going up, the need keeps getting greater as well” explained Brenda Bolton, coordinator of the Food Share Network.
Even with the influx of fresh food, non-perishable and canned food donations are still needed from the community.
“This is supplementing what is already coming in” said Bolton.
They’re also in search of a hundred volunteers to help manage the supply and facility.
The Food Rescue Project is a collaboration of several organizations including the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria, The Victoria Foundation, The Food Share Network, The Mustard Seed Street Church and Thrifty Foods.
Several Rotary clubs raised $100,000 selling raffle tickets for a car donated by Thrifty Foods.
The funds were then matched by the Victoria Foundation.