Lawrence Martin, a driver for Sidney Lions Food Bank, is happy the new refrigerated van is tall enough for him to stand inside, which makes unloading easier. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

New van brings fresh food for Sidney Lions Food Bank

At around 9:30 each Wednesday morning, the Sidney Lions Food Bank is busy on both sides of the counter.

As clients get their hampers, volunteers are busy sorting fresh produce in the back. Thanks to a new refrigerated van, clients can get more fresh produce than ever before.

Bev Elder of the Sidney Lions Food Bank said they partnered with Thrifty Foods a year ago to take the produce they would otherwise throw out, but because they did not have a refrigerated vehicle, they could not take full advantage of it. In the past, Thrifty Foods would send items to the Mustard Seed in downtown Victoria, and Sidney Lions Food Bank would do pickups from there. With the new vehicles, they can now make daily pickups of produce, dairy, bread and deli items from their two locations on the Saanich Peninsula.

Elder said the new van makes a big difference.

“First of all, the guys can stand upright instead of climbing into the back. It makes it so we can pick up these fresh items, so we can go even further. We can pick up more things from different farms. Frozen foods, meat, all of it we can take care of now.”

The morning delivery contains a wide assortment of fresh items, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, containers of cut fruit, whole melons, bananas, potatoes, green onions, yogurt and deli items. They pick up from seven grocery stores every day, and they hope more grocery stores will get on board.

“Clients are so thankful for all the fresh produce. It’s not cheap to eat anything that’s organic, and we’re getting the lovely organic produce.”

Elder said there are extra preservatives and salt in many canned items, so fresh food is generally healthier. She pointed to a open box with several tubs of cottage cheese.

“That’s a seven dollar container, and they might just not have bought it because of how expensive it is.”

A grant from Food Banks BC of about $80,000 was used to buy the white Sprinter van, which was just shy of $70,000. It is so new they have not added their logo to it yet. The rest went to a new commercial refrigerator so they could store the produce once it comes in.

Tear’a Lyons, a single mom on disability, has lived in Sidney for 15 years after coming from South America. She volunteers at the food bank during busy times like Christmas, and she sometimes brings her kids to help. She used the food bank two days after she had her first child, because “I knew I had no food at home after coming out of the hospital.”

Lyons happened on it by accident and she said it reminds her of life in South America, where food is often eaten raw.

“Processed food for me is difficult to deal with, so when the fresh vegetables came, I was pretty happy about it,” said Lyons.

Lyons thought she could only get fresh produce once a month, but she was told she could come every week if she needed to.

“Being able to afford actual, fresh produce is amazing because I’m noticing my kids are a little bit more energetic, there’s stuff to eat in the house in the morning,” said Lyons. “There’s fruit. Real fruit, not canned.”

Lyons is thankful Thrifty Foods is willing to give away what they would otherwise throw out, because many grocery stores continue to throw away food that is still good to eat. She would like to see more grocery stores jump on board, because she notices that some friends who use food banks don’t have much food in the house, and if they do, it’s mostly packaged.

“Instead of throwing away your stuff, give it to someone who can use it. It means so much more,” said Lyons.

Just Posted

Oak Bay parents expect to hear details on childcare spaces

School Board officials to provide more details at public meeting Thursday

City of Victoria to start charging illegal short-term rental operators

Anyone without a proper business license could face $500 per day in fines

VIDEO: Oak Bay High robots compete in international competition

Local school hosts league competition Saturday

Crown to appeal acquittal of Victoria masseur accused of sexual assault

BC Prosecution Service review of the ruling found ‘the judgment revealed errors of fact and law’

Bike thief steals elderly man’s electric-assist bike

Bicycle is a black Raleigh Sprite IE Electric stolen from 600-block of Toronto Street

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read