Kelly and Yvonne Busse, owners of Kelz Sweet & Savory Bake Shop in Sooke, having been baking 32 loafs of bread daily for the Sooke Food Bank during the spread of COVID-19. The couple have owned and operated Kelz bakery for seven years. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Bakery bakes, donates bread just for the Sooke Food Bank

Food hamper demand increases 40 per cent since March

A Sooke bakery is doing its part to make sure the community has enough food during these unprecedented times.

Kelly and Yvonne Busse, owners of Kelz Sweet & Savory Bake Shop, having been baking 32 loafs of bread daily for the Sooke Food Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The food bank came around for four or five days, saying the grocery stores had nothing, and we had next to nothing. So we wanted to help them out by baking some bread for them,” said Kelly Busse. “We saw a need and decided we could be the ones to meet it.”

Kim Metzger, president of the Sooke Food Bank said normally the food bank would receive donations and day-old baking from local grocery stores and bakeries, but since everyone has been worried about food, donations have gone down.

“That’s when Kelz offered to donate bread. But it’s not easy for businesses either right now so we made them a deal, they donate half and we pay for half of the loaves,” said Metzger.

ALSO READ: Sooke Food Bank sets up new protocols for donations

Kelly added that bread is an essential food item for a lot of families, and he has the ability to make it since the pandemic has slowed business and freed up some of his time. So far the bakery has made 168 loaves for the bank, taking about two hours each morning to bake, slice, bag and send them off.

The bakery has been open in Sooke for seven years, and both Kelly and Yvonne have been baking their entire lives. The couple creates a wide variety of both sweet and savoury treats every day, but specialize in birthday cakes.

“I draw all the cakes by hand, so people can come in and show me a photo of what they would like and we can make that for them,” said Kelly.

Currently, Kelz bakery is only doing take-out, but customers can order cakes. The bakery has increased sanitation protocols, and is thankful their customers are mindful not to “dig through the whole batch of cookies” before they pick one.

Kelly said the bakery plans to stay operating throughout the pandemic, should they be allowed. “We will keep going until someone in a suit shows up and tells us to shut down.”

The Sooke Food Bank has seen the demand for food increase by 10 per cent this year, and since the COVID-19 outbreak Metzger said it has increased another 40 per cent.

“It’s just crazy right now,” Metzger said, noting the food bank made more than 60 hampers yesterday.

Normally, the food bank serves about 650 people every month, and this month they expect about 1,500.

“Our goal is to meet everyone’s needs and this is the most dedicated group of volunteers that will make it happen,” said Metzger. “If you are going to fall down anywhere on this Island, you want to fall down in Sooke.”

The food bank is open the first, second, and third Thursday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. More details can be found on the food bank’s Facebook page or telephone 250-642-7666. Due to the current situation, cash or electronic donations are most encouraged.

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