(Mustard Seed Vic/Instagram)

Food banks and food security programs across British Columbia have received a $3 million grant to support initiatives that bring fresh food to impoverished individuals and families.

This grant will be distributed through the Victoria Foundation, an organization that has been managing and distributing donations to charities since 1936.

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“Food security is central to the well-being of people, which makes it a priority for our region and the Province,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation.

“The new Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund will help us build and support other programs like the Food Rescue Project, because better food creates healthier individuals, families and communities.”

Out of the $3 million grant, $2 million will be used to help purchase the Mustard Seed’s Food Security Distribution Centre which is a hub to redistribute food across south Vancouver Island and home to the region’s Food Rescue Project.

The building has been leased since 2017, and the purchase will provide long-term stability for the program.

The remaining $1 million will be distributed to organizations in B.C. for food security projects that can help low-income individuals and families.

Importance of the Mustard Seed building

“The distribution centre will secure a permanent location for a food hub for the capital region,” said Derek Pace, executive director, Mustard Seed Street Church.

“Purchasing the building gives us the stability we need to continue growing the network of donors who provide food each week and to continue to support and participate in the Food Share Network made up of those groups who distribute food to people in their communities.”

“In addition to helping ensure that the Food Rescue Project remains sustainable, the centre will enable the community’s larger vision for food security, growing programs in food literacy, employment, environmental sustainability and the local food systems.”

The Mustard Seed Street Church’s Food Security Distribution Centre collects and distributes roughly 545,000 kilograms of food throughout the Greater Victoria region every year.

According to the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, nearly half a million British Columbians experience some level of household food insecurity.

In Greater Victoria, 14% of households are food insecure, with higher rates among vulnerable populations such as seniors and children.

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