–with information from Sooke Food Bank President Kim Metzger
The Sooke Food Bank has just acquired a $70,000 food truck (photo below), fully equipped with refrigeration and freezer capacity. The truck was almost completely funded by a federal grant, covering $68,000. This grant was a portion of the $10M in funds given from the federal government to Food Banks BC just before the last election.
The acquisition is huge to the Sooke team, as it significantly expands their fresh food capacity. Before, they would have had to refuse foods that would spoil in the journey, either from Victoria to Sooke (like the foods from the Salvation Army Foodshare), or foods from local pick-ups that required refrigeration. Now, they can pick it up and hold it in the truck (the refrigeration unit can be plugged in while parked), and delivered fresh as needed.
Besides fresh fruits and vegetables, the benefit extends to dairy (milk and cheeses, for example) and frozen foods.
The van can also contribute to creating community awareness, as it becomes a travelling billboard. If it’s moving, the Sooke Food Bank is either picking up or delivering much needed essentials to people in the community.
The Sooke Food Bank, which is run primarily by volunteers, currently has a request in to the District of Sooke for $10,000 through the Community Grants program. These funds would be used to cover milk costs for children and seniors in Sooke (prioritized in that order) for the year.
Last year, the District of Sooke added the Food Bank’s Christmas food drive as a regular line item in the Sooke budget; ideally, says Sooke Food Bank President Kim Metzger, the regular Food Bank can also become a budget line item. The need for food banks — which were set up to meet a temporary need — has become a regular social necessity.
In addition to providing food to people in need, the Sooke Food Bank also provide a full breakfast services to all kids who need it at Journey Middle School (Sooke’s only middle school). Every single school day, the Sooke Food Bank feeds breakfast to between 30 and 40 middle-school-aged children. They hope to expand their breakfast program to Edward Milne Community School (EMCS, Sooke’s only high school) in the near future.
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