Food security part of ongoing seniors housing initiatives

Cool Aid Society has expanded monthly food hamper delivery program

Assistant Zinnia Clark and co-ordinator Donna McKenna of the Cool Aid Society’s Downtown Community Centre help organize monthly food hampers from the Mustard Seed Food Bank

If there’s an immediate positive to the Mustard Seed’s monthly food hamper delivery program, it’s the ease of access it affords the tenants of the Cool Aid Society and other affordable housing providers in the region, says Ed O’Brien, an employee at Cool Aid’s Olympic Vista building in Saanich.

“There were fairly big lineups at the food bank, including [Cool Aid tenants] who have paranoia, schizophrenic, addictions, or other issues, and to have all those people in a lineup wasn’t always easy, this provides a very good service, it’s worked out really well,” O’Brien said. “In hindsight, you almost wonder why we didn’t do it before.”

The conversation of housing first is at crucial point where it includes food, the other word in the staple expression “food and shelter.”

Cool Aid started it with 10 people and expanded it to 114, benefiting seniors with mobility issues, disabilities and other issues.

It was thanks to the Mustard Seed Food Bank’s progressive approach that the food hamper option became available, said Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Association co-ordinator Donna McKenna.

“When Mustard Seed started the hamper program, Cool Aid pulled up the postal codes of its participants and noticed people from places such as Tillicum would pick up their child, use transit to get downtown, pick up the hamper, and then return by transit to their home community,” McKenna said.

Currently, 19 of the 32 tenants in Olympic Vista on Carey Road receive the food hamper while additional tenants at the new Cottage Grove building (Quadra and Tolmie) will also qualify. Cottage Grove is slowly filling up to its 45-person capacity.

In addition to the food hamper deliveries (which come in bags), the DTC has added cooking classes and a food literacy approach. Classes instruct tenants on what to make from the ingredients within the hamper.

“Food equals mood is a saying here,” McKenna said. “‘Housing first’ is our number one [goal], but we also look at the needs of the people, the food and nutritional needs, and try to serve those as well.”

The idea with food literacy is to close the loop, McKenna added.

“You can think if someone has been incarcerated or hospitalized for a long period, they haven’t made a meal or budgeted for meals in a long time.”

Fresh produce is also on the way for the food hamper program as the Food Rescue Program through Thrifty Foods and the Mustard Seed goes online later in March.

 

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

Just Posted

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read