For many Victorians, food storage isn’t a priority, but it made a huge difference to the Shelbourne Community Kitchen.
The Shelbourne Food Safety Charity – often referred to as “The Kitchen” – connects needy Saanich members with nutritious meals through its Pantry program, an initiative that continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the organization – a joint effort by three Shelbourne Valley churches – is struggling to find food storage solutions, especially as demand grows.
“The pandemic has made the situation worse for families and individuals already struggling with food insecurity,” said Clarice Dillman, chairman of the board at Shelbourne Community Kitchen. “Since the introduction of the COVID restrictions, we have added 230 people to our customer list – an increase of 200 percent.”
ALSO READ: COVID-19 threatens the food security of millions of Canadians
The kitchen relied on small household refrigerators and freezers to store groceries in a small bungalow until the Lutheran Church of the Cross opened its basement – and increased the capacity for processing and storing dry goods, as well as fresh and frozen food.
The Kitchen was able to switch its model from in-house food collection to delivery service and walk-in window service, thus expanding the range of its meals.
“Without the capacity expansion at the new location, we would not have made it.”
The new facility was made possible through donations and in-kind contributions from local contractors and companies, Dillman said, adding that more renovations are needed to meet increasing demands. Donations can be made online at shelbournecommunitykitchen.ca.
ALSO READ: Greater Victoria food banks are soliciting financial donations from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic