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For the past nine months we have been running the food bank under COVID-19 restrictions, which includes serving our clients outside. In that time we have not had to close once; we have managed to find volunteers to do the work and managed to cope with the weather. It takes about 35 volunteers a week to make this happen.  

In those nine months we have served over 500 different clients with over 2400 hampers. Just over 300 of those hampers have gone to people with no kitchens. 

Each hamper contains about $21 worth of groceries. We also purchase hygiene products and we need to buy supplies.  With rising costs of food and giving out more items to each person, COVID-19 has added about $1200 to our monthly expenses. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we have been able to manage this increase. 

We have been fortunate to receive some grant money to cover costs for utility carts, a rainproof canopy and an awning (to keep our hampers and volunteers dry on those rainy days). Someone generously bought us a new and larger freezer to store bread and, more recently, to store frozen chicken pieces and Beyond Beef products.  

We received over 2000 lettuce, squash, apples, beets and other produce from a farm on the Saanich Peninsula. This was a most generous gift to the food bank for us to distribute and the fresh produce was very much appreciated. 

A distribution day doesn’t go by without someone telling us a story about his or her circumstances or just saying thank you for being here. This is a great encouragement for our volunteers. And, as always, we appreciate the ongoing support of the people of St John’s and the many supporters that we have from the broader community of Victoria. Thank you.

With my warmest wishes for the year ahead, 

Gerry Melville