Pastor Andrew Hewlett helps distribute fresh food at the Living Edge neighbourhood market. The program distributes free, fresh produce to the less fortunate in our community. (Tim Collins/News Gazette staff)

Pastor Andrew Hewlett helps distribute fresh food at the Living Edge neighbourhood market. The program distributes free, fresh produce to the less fortunate in our community. (Tim Collins/News Gazette staff)

Living Edge program comes to Langford

Clients get fresh produce to combat hunger

Pastor Neil van Heerden recalls how, one rainy afternoon in November, an elderly gentleman approached him on the street and introduced himself as a client of Langford’s newest food bank, the Living Edge. The man embraced van Heerden and told him how much the Living Edge fresh food program meant to him.

There were tears in his eyes.

On another occasion van Heerden listened to another gentleman who is a refugee to Canada who had arrived from the Middle East.

He told van Heerden how he’d been waiting for eight months for the paperwork that would allow him to work in this country and he said that the Living Edge program was what made the difference between hunger and eating for his family.

“It’s these stories that inspire me and all the others involved in Living Edge to keep going and try to do as much as we can to make people’s lives just a little easier. No one should be going hungry in this country, and if it takes groups like ours to make sure that’s the reality, then so be it,” said van Heerden.

The Living Edge program started in 2011 in the Quadra Village with the aim of providing fresh produce to the working poor, single parents, the elderly, students and others who need help to find a way to feed themselves.

The program expanded to include distribution points at UVic, Cedar Hill Cross Road, and in Royal Oak.

The group’s most recent venture has brought them to Langford where, since the beginning of November, they have been hosting a weekly market at the Open Gate Church (679 Goldstream Ave.) every Friday between noon and 1:30 p.m.

“There is a fabulous food bank in Langford already, and we are in no way competing with them,” explained van Heerden.

“What we focus on is providing fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to the canned and dry goods that people can generally get from food banks. We do it through the kind support of organizations like Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, and Cold Star Solutions who provide us with a lot of food for distribution. We also get some fresh produce from Mustard Seed in Esquimalt where they have a big refrigeration unit and access to fresh food.”

RELATED: Local businesses help to replace aging wheels

Pastor Andrew Hewlett of the Open Gate Church expressed his gratitude to Living Edge and said how happy his congregation was to help the program.

“The great thing about Living Edge is that there is no registration required and we don’t just pack up hampers for our clients. They come in and shop our market, taking what they need in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity. It’s a matter of respect,” Hewlett said.

“We’re still learning the ropes here. But the main thing we’ve learned is that, as volunteers, we receive far more than we could ever give.”

He added that although there has been very little advertising for the new food distribution program, the numbers of clients coming to the Living Edge market has consistently grown.

“The first week we had 10 people come in and the next week we had 20. Last week we had 45 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see twice that number in the coming weeks,” said Hewlett. “It just keeps growing.”

Living Edge programs across the region serve about 5,000 clients a month for a total of 60,000 a year. The program recently got a huge boost when a number of local businesses teamed up to replace Living Edge’s delivery van. Thrifty Foods in Colwood, Galaxy Motors, Maxxum Insurance and Speedpro signs replaced an existing van that was limping along on its last legs.

“None of the work we do would be possible without the support of the community. Our program is just the vehicle for delivering the generosity and kindness of others without whose help we couldn’t do any of what we do,” said van Heerden.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A photograph of the real firearm beside the replica firearm seized by VicPD in the early hours of April 18. (Courtesy VicPD)
Police seize loaded firearm, drugs during traffic stop in Victoria

Officers find cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl along with loaded handgun

Sidney council approved a broad package of tax relief measures, but concerns about its timing and effectiveness remain. (Black Press Media File).
President of cannabis company considers legal action against Sidney

Sidney already lost one legal action by another cannabis retailer in summer 2020

Colwood restaurants can use city property for patios. (Black Press Media file photo)
Temporary patios back on for Colwood restaurants

Council voted to extend temporary permits to 2022

Sidney Volunteer Fire Department as well as Sidney/North Saanich RCMP and BC Ambulance responded to a dryer fire on Orchard Avenue. (Sidney Volunteer Fire Department/Twitter)
Dryer fire doused in Sidney

Cause of Monday afternoon remains under investigation

(Black Press Media file photo)
Woman returned to West Shore on warrant after crashing in Oak Bay

Smashed car windows, stolen outboard, missing diamond round out police briefs

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read