Food for Families Gala: A Mustard Seed Fundraiser

The Club’s Community Outreach Committee Chair, Lyle Soetaert, and COC member Margaret Odishaw recently sat with Janiene Boice, Director of Development for The Mustard Seed Street Church, to discuss what it is the Mustard Seed does for our community.

The Union Club of British Columbia is proud to partner with the Mustard Seed for “Food for Families Gala”.

From Janiene Boice:

“To summarize a few points we chatted about:

  • The Mustard Seed is a very large non-profit organization that runs incredibly efficiently and effectively. Our administration costs are less than 10% of our annual budget (including personnel costs).  This percentage is from 2017 and is lower than most Victoria non-profit organizations. All numbers are public on the CRA website.
  • Our volunteer base is enormous; we have 1 staff for every 25 volunteers at the Food Rescue Warehouse and 1 staff for every 70 volunteers at our Queens location.
  • We provide:
    • 5000 individuals a month receive food hampers
    • 2500+ individuals a month receive hot lunches and family style dinners

But what makes The Mustard Seed different is that we believe in empowerment and setting our clients up for success; from need and crisis, to self sufficiency. We offer a hand up instead of just a hand out.  To do this, we run the following programs.

The Family Centre

  • Parenting classes, resume writing skills, interview skills training, day to day banking and cashier training. 
  • We work with Victoria Literacy Connection to provide free tutoring to 460 children from grades 2 to 12.
  • We have 1 social worker and 2 case workers who walk alongside families in their season of challenge.
  • Before school starts, we provide 780 school supplies kits free of charge for children; as well as 360 pairs of running shoes and new back-to-school outfits (2018)

Hope Farm

  • Hope Farm is an addiction recovery centre in Duncan where men can come and stay for 6 months to work through an intensive program to free themselves from addiction. On the farm, the men ‘work’ for the keep.  Daily farming duties include running a ‘U-pick’ as well as selling eggs and free range chickens.
  • Currently, there are 12 Men in our 6-month program. To date, 60 men have graduated from our program.
  • Two years ago we partnered with Oughtred Coffee to develop The Mustard Seed Coffee Co.  This is a social enterprise program that the men run and deliver coffee to Thrifty Foods and Save On Foods. All the proceeds from this coffee company go toward Hope Farm.

Food Rescue:

  • 4000 lbs of food is rescued daily from local grocery stores
  • At our Food Security Distribution Centre we ‘rescue’ fresh produce, meat and dairy from the local grocery stores, clean, glean, then re-distribute the food to 66 local agencies (Our Place, Esquimalt High, Women’s Transition House, Spectrum Community School, Cridge Centre, Life Cycles, just to name a few).  This is a free service because we believe that food waste is a big issue.  If we can lessen what goes into our local landfill and nourish people with fresh produce then it is a win-win for everyone.”

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