Marlene Bergstrom

Marlene Bergstrom

Saanich group on hunt for community kitchen in Shelbourne Valley

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen organization has been born. All it needs now is an actual kitchen.

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen organization has been born. All it needs now is an actual kitchen.

Three churches and two community associations in the Shelbourne Valley have officially joined forces to establish a community kitchen. The intent is to allow people to cook and share free meals together, and for the kitchen to act as a central food bank for the neighbourhood.

Members from Lutheran Church of the Cross, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, St. Aidan’s United Church, Mount Tolmie Community Association and Camosun Community Association signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, which formalizes co-operation and creates a single organization.

“The MOU is important in the sense of the commitment of the partners for the ongoing project. It makes it possible for the next step, which is to find the facility,” said Rev. Lyal McKenzie with the Lutheran Church.

The initiative emerged out of a more than a year of informal talks among the churches and community groups about poverty and food security in the Mount Tolmie, Cedar Hill and North Dairy areas of Saanich.

Most churches in the area offer food and food vouchers, and McKenzie said they’ve have seen a considerable uptick in families and seniors needing help to make end’s meet.

“Food is a growing need. For the past one and a half or two years, demand has doubled (at the Lutheran Church) from 12 or 15 households per month now to over 30,” he said. “For the most part people have housing, but not much is left after that for food.”

The three churches involved would merge their individual food and voucher pantries into one, if and when the kitchen is established. The Lutheran Church as access to a $100,000 grant for the project from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada.

“People will get more support than just food or vouchers,” McKenzie said. “Our intention is to offer people the opportunity to join a community and make food, and learn about healthy eating and nutrition.”

Finding a kitchen could be a tall order. The Shelbourne Community Kitchen needs a space with a functioning stove or oven, and space for food preparation, dining and storage, and it needs to be relatively close to major bus lines, preferably near Shelbourne Street.

“The Shelbourne area is easiest for people using the bus, if they are taking food portions away or groceries and have kids in tow,” said Laura Cochrane, who has facilitated the community kitchen discussions for the past year. “We do need a kitchen, a full kitchen isn’t essential, and 600 to 800 square feet of prep space, storage and seating.”

Marlene Bergstrom, president of the Mount Tolmie Community Association, has been hunting for a community kitchen space for the past year, and said it’s tough to find available space that meets the group’s specific needs, which also includes building small community garden plots.

She is confident a location will be found and expects it will help the most vulnerable populations in the area – seniors, students and new immigrants. “People can come share a meal, prepare a meal and get resources,” Bergstrom said. “We think there is a need based on demographics and research.”

Cochrane noted that the MOU that established the Shelbourne Community Kitchen is critical in terms creating a body that can make decisions, sign leases and seek grants. The group’s next step is creating a steering committee and a project leader.

“A discussion group isn’t a decision-making body. Even if we had found the perfect place, we weren’t at a point where we could do anything,” Cochrane said. “Now is the time. It’s a critical time to find a location for the kitchen.”

For more on the project or to help out, see shelbournecommunitykitchen.wordpress.com or email shelbournecommunitykitchen@gmail.com.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

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

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after vehicle swiped from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read