Victoria Meals Financial institution at all-time low for donations simply as wants are rising

Midsummer is “absolutely” a low point for the mustard seed food bank – as the need for food increases as donations continue to decline, says one of its top officials.

Families need more nutritious food when their children no longer have access to school meals and summer childcare expenses are a burden on family budgets, said interim general manager Allan Lingwood.

July and August are among the “busiest times” for food banks to use, with the crisis coming as donations drop month by month until the fall grocery campaigns kick in, he said.

“We’re seeing a lot of families in the summer months and more financial pressures,” Lingwood said. Donations peak in November and December when 60 percent of the annual donations have been received.

What is needed now is peanut butter, canned foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and soup, dried peas, beans, noodles and soup, rice and oatmeal.

Fortunately, many local farmers give the mustard seed fresh summer produce, he added. To take advantage of the vast amounts of fresh perishable food that is wasted in grocery stores because of its imperfection, Mustard Seed has made a conditional offer to rent a cold room for its regional Food Rescue Center.

The company is negotiating a 13,500 square foot warehouse near its Queens Avenue location that will enable the rapid distribution of fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products to approximately 40 nonprofits. Customers of the food banks would not pick up any food at the rescue center.

Country Grocer has been providing perishable goods for over a year, Lingwood noted, but nine Thrifty Food outlets are on board to work with local Rotary clubs to up the ante.

A year ago, nine clubs raised $ 100,000 by raffling a car donated by Thrifty Foods, with $ 100,000 from the Victoria Foundation to help collect, handle and distribute a large amount of nutritious fresh food that are currently being thrown away.

Mustard Seed’s master plan provides for a 1,500 square meter kitchen for food processing that could, for example, quickly turn very ripe strawberries into jam, which would be “a great long-term benefit,” as well as a communal kitchen for Mustard Food customers.

“We are now doing our due diligence and hope that if all goes well we can take possession of the property in mid-August,” said Lingwood.

Approximately 5,000 square feet of the warehouse would be used for food currently being transported and stored at the Hope Farm Healing Center in Duncan, as the Queens location is only 1,300 square feet. Hope Farm is a 36 acre mixed-use farm operated by Mustard Seed Street Church as a service to men with addiction.

The food rescue project will enable mustard seed to provide fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and other products to around 40 other social service organizations that are part of the Food Share Network.

“It’s more of a distribution warehouse and we will continue [with hampers] from our current location in Queens, ”Lingwood said.

The Tafel currently receives 800,000 kilograms of food per year and distributes around 2,450 kilograms per day, five days a week, taking into account spoilage and donations to other institutions.

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