The doors at the Mustard Seed have reopened to a newly renovated space for Victoria’s most vulnerable after a fire closed its doors nearly six months ago.
On March 27, a fire at the building destroyed the key hospitality space, as well as all the food supplies for both hot lunches and the food bank.
The Mustard Seed’s director of operations, Treska Watson, said while this was a very disheartening situation, it allowed the organization to refresh and renovate the hospitality space making it bigger and better.
“We were able to take one of the larger storage rooms out and make our chapel and hospitality area quite a bit larger, which means we can have more people in there for community events, meals and church services,” Watson explained. “It’s brighter, it’s bigger and there’s more room for everyone.”
The added space is something that is much needed right now.
Robert Jackes, a volunteer, added they serve about 130 lunches daily, with that number varying depending on the day.
Jackes said those using the space have been very impressed by the updates as it creates a stronger feeling of community.
“A lot of people who come here know each other and they can now go sit at a table, have their lunch and chat about what’s going on in their lives,” he said.
According to the organization, the renovations aren’t done yet.
There are plans to add a wellness room that will allow people not only to warm up but also take care of their hygiene.
Watson said the goal is to add three showers as well as some washers and dryers for users to clean both themselves and their clothes.
“Especially for those people who are unhoused, it’s going to make a really big difference for them,” she added.
A fundraising campaign for the wellness room will start soon with the hope of raising $500,000.
Until then, donations for the Mustard Seed can be made on its website.