Cash-strapped Mustard Seed cuts staff hours

Victoria organization attempts to meet costs while facing reduction in donations

All 25 full- and part-time staff at the Mustard Seed took a 25-per-cent cut to their hours this week, as the non-profit organization deals with its pressing financial challenges.

“We needed to take some drastic, immediate steps,” said executive director, Rev. Chris Riddell.

Donations are down by $400,000 over the past two years, he said.

In anticipation of another low-revenue year, the organization had already cut up to 10 per cent of its $2-million budget, mostly cutting back on the food it buys.

The reductions, however, haven’t been enough.

“The only thing left (to cut) is our staffing time,” Riddell said. The loss of wages will put staff in a difficult situation, he acknowledged. “It’s heartbreaking.”

The good news is the resolve and heart they’ve shown in this hard time, he said.

“Some of our staff has said, ‘I’m going to be here for eight hours anyway because I care about the ministry.’”

Every month, 5,000 people come to the Mustard Seed for a food hamper and another 2,000 come to access one of the organization’s other services, such as counselling, advocacy and health services. The Mustard Seed also operates a healing farm in the Cowichan Valley, where up to 12 men live at a time.

Riddell hopes the cuts to staff hours will be temporary.

“We’re hoping (that with) our appeal to Victoria, they respond in a positive way,” he said.

This weekend the Mustard Seed is participating in the Great Canadian Food Fight – a friendly competition between food banks in several cities to bring in the most donations. Details about how and where to donate are at mustardseed.ca.

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

New virgin queen headlines ‘Bee Day’ at Saanich sanctuary

Taste bee spit and check out the hive at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary this Sunday

Several hundred SD 62 students team up to clean the shoreline

Effort aimed at keeping Esquimalt and Albert Head Lagoon trash-free

Saanich’s Falcon Gymnastics finish season with three titles at own tournament

Club hosted the 37th annual Garden City Invitational over May long weekend to wrap up season

Hills to Shore artists open gardens, studios to public

Annual home artist tour visits 11 locations May 25 and 26

Mom who lost son to brain tumour in March joins the 24th annual Brain Tumour Walk

The Brain Tumour Walk takes place at the University of Victoria on Sunday, May 26

VIDEO: Canadian, U.S. Coast guards run oil spill response drills

20 vessels were on the water to practice international response methods

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

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

Young Victoria distillery earns prestigious Scotch awards

Scottish influences range from techniques to ‘kilted tours’ at award-winning business

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Building a close-knit community in Sooke

Knit 2 Purl Together a community event

Most Read