Mustard Seed campaign gets messy

The Mustard Seed is launching its second annual Pie-Off Challenge to encourage residents to help stock the food bank's shelves.

Most people don’t associate a pie in the face with feeding the homeless, but the Mustard Seed is trying to change that as part of a new campaign to help feed Victoria’s homeless population.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Mustard Seed is launching its second annual Pie-Off Challenge to encourage residents to raise awareness about hunger and help stock the food bank’s shelves.

As part of the campaign, the Mustard Seed will challenge individuals and local organization leaders to a friendly pie fight. Challengers will be given 24 hours to accept and begin raising food and funds.

Last year, they raised $43,000 and 44,000 pounds of non-perishable food. This year, their goal is to raise $100,000 in cash donations and 100,000 pounds of food.

The donations will help keep Mustard Seed shelves stocked well into their next big fundraising push, Canstruction in the spring.

“It’s the most impactful fundraising for us in the fall,” said Allan Lingwood, director of development with the Mustard Seed. “It’s essential at this time of year that we stock our shelves for the winter and new year months. It’s these two critical times of year where we need to get the community together to raise a bunch of food to stock the shelves.”

In the six weeks leading up to Canstruction in May or the Pie-off Challenge, shelves are often running dry and the Mustard Seed has trouble serving the community at regular levels,

“If we’re able to increase these programs and reach our goals with these two food drive programs, we’ll have an abundance of non-perishable foods to get us through year round,” added Lingwood.

The funds will go towards programs the organization offers that help people break the cycle of poverty such as employment skills training, and life and finance skills.

The challenge kicks off on Saturday and runs until Oct. 30, where there will be a final weigh-in and collection.

The Mustard Seed is Vancouver Island’s largest food bank, distributing roughly 11,000 pounds of food a day.