News Story

Church Donation Supports Creative Solutions at Shelbourne Community Kitchen

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen (SCK) will expand its walk-in cooler and receive a walk-in freezer, blast chiller, combination steamer and convection oven, vacuum sealer and commercial immersion blender through a $130,000 donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

SCK is a warm and welcoming neighbourhood food centre located in Saanich, British Columbia. Thanks to a team of 191 volunteers, the kitchen functions with only two paid staff and a hard-working board of directors. The kitchen works to lower barriers to healthy food for over 1,500 adults and 500 children who are living on low incomes in the Greater Victoria area.

Kim Cummins, SCK director of operations, emphasized that the donation would assist with the kitchen’s plan to develop a commercial kitchen project and “facilitate the Shelbourne Community Kitchen’s strategic plan for financial sustainability.” She stated that the goal of the commercial kitchen is to improve the operations of the food bank and “support creative efforts to prepare and preserve food donated to or grown by the community kitchen.”

Cummins and Clarice Dillman, Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society board chair, noted in a written statement that the donation “will support efforts to reduce food waste while creating greater synergy among our programs. With commercial kitchen status and the necessary equipment for high-volume production and packaging, the kitchen will be able to distribute our own healthy, prepared meals and ingredients to our members. We will be able to increase the quantity and variety of offerings through the Pantry Program and include more low-sodium or diabetic friendly prepared meals for people with chronic illness. Imagine produce that is grown in our gardens getting transformed into healthy meals in our kitchen, getting stocked on the shelves and in the fridges of our Pantry Program.”

Victoria British Columbia Stake President Gary Anderson said the donation will help the kitchen “to provide more assistance to the Victoria community and to be able to fulfill the growing demand of people needing assistance from this organization.”

SCK has implemented several creative ways of addressing food insecurity. One has been through the development of a Food Skills Program, which increases not only access to nutritious, wholesome food but also opportunities to learn and share skills by preparing and sharing healthy meals together.

The Garden Program provides large amounts of fresh produce while offering hands-on learning opportunities and resources that support food grown at home. In 2022, 3,770 kilograms (8,310 pounds) of food were grown in two SCK gardens.

The Grocery Program allows participants to select necessities to accommodate cultural preferences, allergies and family sizes, while the Home Delivery Service takes healthy food directly to the most isolated participants living with chronic illness or mobility barriers.

Larry Green, Area Welfare and Self-reliance manager for the Church, added, “We are grateful for the work the Shelbourne Community Kitchen does in the community. We are delighted to support their inclusive and creative ways to address hunger and self-reliance.”

Contributed by David Venoit.

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