FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 16, 2017
VICTORIA, B.C. – A group of like-minded organizations today announced the opening of a new facility that promises to dramatically increase both the quantity – and the quality – of food available to the estimated 50,000 food-insecure people in our region, diverting up to 2,000 kilograms of food per day from landfill.
The Food Rescue Distribution Centre is a collaboration between Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria, Thrifty Foods, The Victoria Foundation, the 40+ members of the Food Share Network and their operational partner, The Mustard Seed Street Church. Through the centre, quality, perishable food donated by Thrifty Foods will be collected and re-distributed by The Mustard Seed Street Church to Food Share Network partners & food insecure people living in the Capital Region.
Fourteen per cent of all people living in the region are food insecure, meaning some 50,000 people do not have the means to access healthy food. Food banks, emergency hampers and meals programs currently serve 20,000 people annually, but there are an additional 30,000 “hidden hungry” who do not access these programs and struggle to feed themselves and their families.
“The Victoria Foundation has been working with local food organizations to identify gaps in the current system and to find solutions,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Ultimately, we believe in a future where we focus less on the symptoms of food insecurity and more on addressing the root causes so that everyone in our community has sustainable access to affordable, nutritious food. This project will address major gaps related to transportation, storage and distribution, and take an important step to reduce food waste and get more healthy foods safely to people in need. ”
“Proudly Serving our Communities is one of our core values and why Thrifty Foods is so committed to giving back to the communities where we work and live,” said Lorne MacLean, General Manager, Thrifty Foods. “Food waste and food access are major concerns, especially in the Capital Region, and we knew from the earliest conversations with our partners that we wanted to be part of the solution. We are proud to be part of the Food Rescue Project and helping provide quality, perishable food to those who need it most.”
Bruce Curtiss, Executive Director of The Mustard Seed Street Church was excited about the likelihood of improved health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of people living in poverty, but added that more help is needed to ensure ongoing success. “Generous support from the Victoria Foundation and the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria have helped to launch this project, but to remain viable, this facility needs additional ongoing financial support as well as volunteers to help clean & sort the food.”
In 2015, Rotarians for Food Rescue successfully raised the necessary funds for transportation and storage infrastructure – one of the most challenging aspects of any solution involving perishable food. “Our aim was to provide funding for a major food recovery system that will see perishable food items move from grocery stores and other sources to the vulnerable populations in the Capital Region through the Food Share Network,” said Rotary Assistant Governor Lorna Curtis. “The success of this project will provide lessons for other communities that want to do similar work.”
The food rescue project is the result of regional collaboration among non-profit agencies and stakeholders that came together under the Food Share Network umbrella. “I’m thankful for the amount of time and effort that Food Share Network members have invested in the creation of this transformative program,” said Brenda Bolton, Coordinator of the Food Share Network. “And I’m excited about this opportunity to work closely with schools, First Nations and senior citizens to increase their access to food.”
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Photos of the event are available on Flickr.
Rotary is a volunteer organization with approximately 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs around the world. It is a leadership organization made up of local business, professional and civic leaders that meet regularly, form friendships, network and mentor and actively participate in, or provide funds for, local community and international projects. With about 450 members, the Rotary clubs of Greater Victoria include current and past CEOs and executives of many well-known organizations. www.rotaryvictoria.org
About the Victoria Foundation
Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of nearly 200 across the nation. It manages charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds. The proceeds from these funds are then distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date, it has invested more than $176 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in B.C. and throughout Canada. victoriafoundation.bc.ca
About the Food Share Network
The Food Share Network (FSN) is a collaborative endeavor launched in 2014 with over 40 key stakeholder groups and food security organizations in the Capital Region. Their integrative approach seeks to enhance food security in the Capital Region through cooperation among food banks, community centres, donors and other participating organizations. Through collaboration, the FSN is using limited resources in an efficient manner and minimizing the number of asks to food donors. www.foodsharenetwork.com
About The Mustard Seed Street Church
Since 1975, The Mustard Seed Street Church has been essential in fighting hunger and restoring faith to a large number of people living in poverty, as well as the working poor, in greater Victoria. Programs and services are nearly 100 per cent community funded and include the four core ministries of Food Security, Hospitality, Hope Farm Healing Center and a Family Resource Center. We impact, on average, over 5,000 people per month with more than 50 volunteers keeping things running on a daily basis. www.mustardseed.ca
About Thrifty Foods
Thrifty Foods was founded in 1977 in Victoria, B.C. Today Thrifty Foods, a banner of Sobeys Inc., has a total of 25 retail grocery stores across the Lower Mainland, throughout Vancouver Island and on Salt Spring Island. Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians since 1907. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX:EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton’s Drug Stores as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 125,000 people. The company’s purpose is to help Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. www.thriftyfoods.com | www.sobeyscorporate.com