Members of the Odd Fellows Columbia Lodge #2 brave an early morning shift at Country Grocer in Royal Oak to fill a five-ton truck with $20

Very ‘Odd’ Christmas fills food bank shelves for Greater Victoria families

Odd Fellows raise $20,000 for The Mustard Seed holiday food hampers

They may be self-described odd fellows, but they do good work.

Last Thursday, about 40 members of a local Odd Fellows chapter descended upon the loading dock of Country Grocer on West Saanich Road to load $20,000 worth of food destined for The Mustard Seed Food Bank.

“A lot of times we find a charity we want to support, and then when we put together an event, we have 40 guys right there ready to help,” said Josh Miller, financial secretary of Odd Fellows Columbia Lodge No. 2.

Miller started the Ton of Love Project five years ago for The Mustard Seed, with the aim of donating a ton of non-perishable food. The project grew the next year, but Miller and his colleagues realized that piecemeal food donations weren’t always what families needed during the holidays.

“We wanted to be able to bring healthy, nutritious food instead,” he said. “That really made an impact, and it really became about the love rather than the tonnage.”

For the past two years, the Odd Fellows have paired up with Country Grocer to purchase and deliver thousands of pounds of fresh produce, proteins and dairy products to families at The Mustard Seed during the Christmas rush.

“Last year, we actually got to hand out the food to families in line and we saw what it meant to them,” Miller said.

“These hampers were twice the size they were last year with five times the amount of produce. It’s food that makes you feel human.”

The Mustard Seed director of food services, Brent Palmer, connected with Country Grocer to discuss the facility’s needs over the holidays, and the Odd Fellows went about raising cash. In the end, they brought together nearly $20,000, mostly from local business donations and till donations from customers at Country Grocer.

“That cash buys enough food to fill almost half of what The Mustard Seed needs for their hampers for the holiday season,” Miller said. “Country Grocer are just such a stalwart team in the community and they supported us immensely. Without them, we could have never brought this off the ground the way that we did.”

Tammy Averill with Country Grocer said the Odd Fellows have donated manpower as well for a variety of community events.

“We had to take a food bank display down at the Bay Centre last year, and the guys came out right away to take it down,” she said. “It’s just great to work with local guys. They raised $7,000 more than last year, that’s huge. And their enthusiasm is amazing, they’re just ready to go.”

Miller said part of the draw for donors he approached was ensuring them that 100 per cent of proceeds went to feeding families.

“When you’re looking for some way to give back and you’re not sure how to do it, you hook up with Odd Fellows and it’s an amazing thing,” he said.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich council approves rural subdivision despite staff and public opposition

Critics say it will lead to urban sprawl, while supporters cite the need for housing

Victoria BC Transit driver taken to hospital after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

CRD’s 2019 financial plan includes 23 per cent increase for capital projects

Housing, health care and wastewater projects included in 2019 plan

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read