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Emergency Food Service (EFS)

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Click here for an excellent opinion piece from our own Peggy Wilmot. 

The Emergency Food Service (EFS) is a food bank that started in the mid 1990s as a temporary outreach program to people in need in greater Victoria. Primarily we serve people who are on social assistance, the working poor and those with disabling conditions. They have difficulty feeding themselves and their families on what the government provides. We are open to dispense food for two hours on most Tuesday and Friday mornings, which our clients are able to access once a month. We are unique by not providing a prepackaged hamper. Instead our clients choose from a provided list of available items within reasonable limits. This provides a sense of individual respect and lessens the chance of receiving unwanted items which might be thrown away.

We give out perishable and non-perishable food items. We also have laundry detergent, some toiletry items, treats (cookies, candy, etc.) and pet food. One Friday each month, Grace Lutheran Church provides  fresh vegetables with their Good Food Box Program. In the fall of 2013, the Anawim Companion Society began sharing the fresh vegetables that they receive from Thrifty Foods Friday mornings.

In 2013 we served 4943 clients. In October 2013 we started to keep track of the number of individuals with children at home, which was just under 14%. In 2013 we spent $32,544.63 to purchase food, in addition to receiving many donated food items from individuals and bread from the Cobs and Wildfire bakeries. For Good Measure Premium Bulk Food has been providing at cost oatmeal, 18 bean soup mix, split peas and lentils. The EFS is funded by donations from members of St John the Divine, members of other churches, non-church individuals, a few organizations and businesses, and the occasional contribution from the Mustard Seed. In 2013, we received a $5000.00 grant from the Victoria Real Estate Board, which allowed us to increase the amount of available food and especially additional protein items. We are very much dependent on the outside donations as we would not be able to meet the increasing demand with support from just the members of St John the Divine.

All donations of $20.00 or more are given a tax deductible receipt. Donations designated for the Food Bank are entirely used for purchase of food and few other incidentals. St John the Divine Church provides the space and covers all costs [utilities, janitorial, etc.]. We also welcome non-perishable food donations.

The EFS is entirely operated by approximately 70 dedicated volunteers from St John the Divine Church, Grace Lutheran Church, St. Matthias Anglican Church, Christ Church Cathedral, Congregation Emanu-El and people with no formal church affiliation. They provided 2233 recorded volunteer hours in 2013. The Emergency food service might be more appropriately referred to as the Food Bank at St John the Divine Anglican Church, rather than St John the Divine&;s Emergency Food Service.

The EFS greatly appreciates support from local businesses, such as Real Canadian Wholesale Club, For Good Measure Premium Bulk Food, The Wild Fire Bakery and Cobs Bread.

For dates, see the calendar. For more information contact the church (250-383-7169) or Peggy Wilmot, Coordinator.

SJD Food Bank Volunteers

Food bank volunteers reflect on their experiences