Local Grocers and Victoria Foundation Raise $32,112 to Support Food Rescue Project

VICTORIA, BC – At a time of great need in our community, Greater Victoria residents have reached deep to help support the Island Food Caring campaign, donating a total of $32,112 through local participating grocers to help feed our region.

Five grocery store operators took part in the campaign, which started on February 27 and ran until March 22. While the local and global situation changed considerably during the campaign, with the COVID-19 pandemic, residents still found the generosity to support Island Food Caring just when it’s needed most. The money will go to support the Food Rescue Project, an initiative of the Mustard Seed and the Food Share Network, that recovers and redistributes healthy, fresh food to food insecure communities in the region.

The five participating grocery stores include Country Grocer, Fairway Market, Red Barn Market, The Root Cellar and Thrifty Foods.

“Our team feels incredibly honoured to be working with other local grocers on the Island Food Caring campaign, “said Russ Benwell, owner/operator of Red Barn Markets. “We have a passion for providing our customers with the freshest local products and we are proud to be part of a network that ensures all members of our community have access to healthy food. Particularly during the uncertain times we are currently living in – fresh food for all is more important than ever.”

To support the campaign, residents donated at the point of purchase or via the program’s website. Funds raised went to the Victoria Foundation to be distributed to the Mustard Seed and Food Share Network partner organizations participating in the Food Rescue Project. Donations can continue to be made at www.islandfoodcaring.ca.

“We are in uncharted territory in the grocery business, but have been uplifted by our customer’s amplified commitment to community during this difficult time for everyone,” said Daisy Orser, co-owner of The Root Cellar. “We have implored our shoppers to reflect on their own experiences while navigating these unique and stressful circumstances, and to consider how that experience might be compounded if they didn’t know where their next meal was coming from; the response has been exceptionally heartwarming.”

“This has been a time of uncertainty and hardships for many, but when you see the generosity displayed during the Island Food Caring campaign you can’t help but be filled with gratitude and hope,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Raising this money will allow for the purchase of items not as readily available at this time, such as meat and dairy, which are being bought up before reaching the point where they would be donated by grocers. The results of this campaign will help to keep fresh, healthy food distributed to our region’s most vulnerable residents during this trying time.”

“The Food Rescue Project is supporting thousands of food insecure individuals, children, and families every year access nutritious, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy,” said Sonja Yli-Kahila, coordinator, Food Share Network. “We are so grateful for the grocers in this community for getting behind this important program and helping to raise funds to support the sustainability of the Food Rescue Project. We need to come together as a community to maintain this program, and by creating this campaign, the grocers are playing an important role in raising awareness of and funds for food rescue in the Capital Region.”

More information on Island Food Caring can be found at islandfoodcaring.ca