Since opening in 1987, The Mustard Seed has served the nutritional needs of those in need through its food depot. The food depot is an emergency resource that provides monthly hampers to augment personal or family food supply. Experience has shown The Mustard Seed that often a visit to its food depot means more to the McCauley community than just the food.
Almost completely run by volunteers, intake workers assess the needs of those in need and provide referrals to other supportive services including those offered by The Mustard Seed, the government, and other agencies.
“We see where we can help and sometimes people don’t just come for the food. They come just to see the volunteers,” says Laura Fedoriw, spokesperson for The Mustard Seed.
The Mustard Seed serves a high number of people who are classified as the working poor, who may have full-time jobs, but at minimum wage are still not making enough to completely support themselves.
Bob (not his real name) was asked why he uses the food bank. He said, “I don’t get much money and basically it is gone before I get food. We pay rent, then my wife pays the utilities, and there is hardly any money left for food. We do what we can, but we are happy that there is a food bank because with two growing kids they almost eat us out of house and home. I come here because they help me out and we can get a little extra for the kids.”
The food depot probably serves the highest number of children and families of all services offered by The Mustard Seed. The Mustard Seed’s food depot serves anywhere from 50-80 people three times per week.
The Mustard Seed operates one of 120 depots of the Edmonton Food Bank which provides all food for the food depot. The Edmonton Food Bank has strict guidelines that require people to live within certain boundaries and to bring identification with them.
Article by Wesley May with files from The Mustard Seed.