Food Bank Facts
- The Mustard Seed is more than just a food bank. It provides advocacy services, counselling and crisis management,weekend meals and outreach program, a drop in centre, a barber shop, a public health nurse, the Hope Farm Healing Centre for recovering addicts, a street church, a clothing bank and so much more.
- An important function of the Mustard Seed is their Family Centre where families can sign up to learn about budgeting, literacy, cooking, parenting and how to access communal resources. Their goal is to end the intergenerational cycle of poverty by equipping families with the skills necessary to empower themselves and future generations.
- The Mustard Seed also provides home starter kits for people in new living situations. Imagine you are a woman with children fleeing abuse or a struggling individual or couple who just can't seem to get on their feet. The Mustard Seed offers a helping hand to people in all types of crises, not just food related ones.
- An early literacy program is in place, which distributes over 300 books per month to children.
- A canning program has been implemented whereby blighted fruit and items such as cooking apples can be canned and provided to food bank clients.
Who the Mustard Seed Serves
- The Mustard Seed serves approximately 7,000 people each month - working poor, children, seniors, single parents, people in crisis, those who are homeless.
- Approximately 30% of the people who frequent the Mustard Seed are children; that's over 2,000 children each month.
- 15 per cent of those served by the Mustard Seed are homeless; 55 per cent are the working poor, who are NOT on government assistance.
- Food bank usage increases during the summer months. This is partially due to the fact that children don't have access to breakfast and lunch programs, putting more strain on the food bank's resources.
- Brent Palmer, Director of the Mustard Seed, is noticing "more seniors coming in and calling in to see what they have to do to access food".
- Hundreds of volunteers work together to provide these valuable services.
- According to Executive Director, Reverend Chris Riddell, use of the Mustard Seed has increased by 100% since 2003. Many of these people are the "working poor."
- The Mustard Seed is at its busiest from October to the end of December managing the additional need at Christmas time and devoting energy to the many community fundraising events that help sustain those in need throughout the year.
- More than 1,000 additional volunteers are required at Christmas time to serve those in need and help raise funds for the year ahead.
- The Mustard Seed holds a Christmas dinner each November, serving approximately 700 people a chef-prepared turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
- Approximately 800 Christmas hampers are distributed each Chrismtas to families in need.
How They Do It
- With no government funding, the Mustard Seed relies solely the generous donations of individuals, families, businesses and not for profit agencies.
- 2.85 million pounds of food are donated annually to the Mustard Seed, a value of approximately $7 million.
- Current (2012) donation levels at the Mustard Seed are down by 20 per cent over the same period in 2010
- The Mustard Seed has a budget of more than $2 million per year, which was reduced by 6 per cent in 2012 in anticipation of reduced donations.
- Less than 2 cents of each dollar that is donated to the Mustard Seed is used for administration and fundraising, when including all donated food and time.
- One of the Mustard Seed's largest challenges is managing through the lean months, when donations are significantly lower - from January to September.
- More than 40 volunteers per day assist the Mustard Seed in serving those in need.
- 108,000 volunteer hours are given to the Mustard Seed annually, which is equivalent to 52 full time employees.