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Renovations provide cozy new space for Saanich community kitchen

New Cedar Hill Road location opens to provide healthy food options for those in need
Clarice Dillman (left) and Kim Cummins are excited about their new community kitchen on Cedar Hill Road. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen recently set up shop at a more spacious location on Cedar Hill Road, equipped with a larger kitchen, invigorating natural lighting, and enough office space for its generous volunteers.

The collaborative effort to provide enough to eat for the community is shared between three Shel­bourne Valley churches –St. Luke’s Anglican, St. Aidan’s United, and Lutheran Church of the Cross – as well as the Mount Tolmie Community Association and Camosun Community Association.

Since the focus of the organization is to provide healthy food to those in need in a supportive setting, board chair Clarice Dillman said that they’re grateful to have a larger and renovated space to continue their work in serving the community.

Although renovations are not yet complete, she said they look forward to being able to offer that much more in the improved space, now open and awaiting final touches.

“No matter what happened throughout this renovation process we came up with ways to keep our programs going.”

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Ensuring their priorities were straight was important to Dillman and program director Kim Cummins.

They identified their pantry program as a key focus and ensured that members could continue to come and pick up their orders even when they were no longer in their old space.

During the rainier months of the transition and renovation process, they continued the program by setting up a tent and putting out warm coffee so volunteers could remain dry and members could warm up as they picked up their meal kits.

A virtual cooking class is also offered on a weekly basis where participants register to receive a meal kit complete with ingredients, recipes, and equipment lists, and they’re then instructed on how to put everything together in their own kitchens via Zoom.

Meeting the unique needs and preferences of their members is important to them, said Dillman, and their reach extends to single parents, seniors living alone, and many others in need who are signed up for their various programs.

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