Pastor Andrew Hewlett helps distribute fresh food at the Living Edge neighbourhood market. The program distributes free, fresh produce to the less fortunate in our community. (Tim Collins/News Gazette staff)

Pastor Andrew Hewlett helps distribute fresh food at the Living Edge neighbourhood market. The program distributes free, fresh produce to the less fortunate in our community. (Tim Collins/News Gazette staff)

Living Edge program comes to Langford

Clients get fresh produce to combat hunger

Pastor Neil van Heerden recalls how, one rainy afternoon in November, an elderly gentleman approached him on the street and introduced himself as a client of Langford’s newest food bank, the Living Edge. The man embraced van Heerden and told him how much the Living Edge fresh food program meant to him.

There were tears in his eyes.

On another occasion van Heerden listened to another gentleman who is a refugee to Canada who had arrived from the Middle East.

He told van Heerden how he’d been waiting for eight months for the paperwork that would allow him to work in this country and he said that the Living Edge program was what made the difference between hunger and eating for his family.

“It’s these stories that inspire me and all the others involved in Living Edge to keep going and try to do as much as we can to make people’s lives just a little easier. No one should be going hungry in this country, and if it takes groups like ours to make sure that’s the reality, then so be it,” said van Heerden.

The Living Edge program started in 2011 in the Quadra Village with the aim of providing fresh produce to the working poor, single parents, the elderly, students and others who need help to find a way to feed themselves.

The program expanded to include distribution points at UVic, Cedar Hill Cross Road, and in Royal Oak.

The group’s most recent venture has brought them to Langford where, since the beginning of November, they have been hosting a weekly market at the Open Gate Church (679 Goldstream Ave.) every Friday between noon and 1:30 p.m.

“There is a fabulous food bank in Langford already, and we are in no way competing with them,” explained van Heerden.

“What we focus on is providing fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to the canned and dry goods that people can generally get from food banks. We do it through the kind support of organizations like Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, and Cold Star Solutions who provide us with a lot of food for distribution. We also get some fresh produce from Mustard Seed in Esquimalt where they have a big refrigeration unit and access to fresh food.”

RELATED: Local businesses help to replace aging wheels

Pastor Andrew Hewlett of the Open Gate Church expressed his gratitude to Living Edge and said how happy his congregation was to help the program.

“The great thing about Living Edge is that there is no registration required and we don’t just pack up hampers for our clients. They come in and shop our market, taking what they need in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity. It’s a matter of respect,” Hewlett said.

“We’re still learning the ropes here. But the main thing we’ve learned is that, as volunteers, we receive far more than we could ever give.”

He added that although there has been very little advertising for the new food distribution program, the numbers of clients coming to the Living Edge market has consistently grown.

“The first week we had 10 people come in and the next week we had 20. Last week we had 45 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see twice that number in the coming weeks,” said Hewlett. “It just keeps growing.”

Living Edge programs across the region serve about 5,000 clients a month for a total of 60,000 a year. The program recently got a huge boost when a number of local businesses teamed up to replace Living Edge’s delivery van. Thrifty Foods in Colwood, Galaxy Motors, Maxxum Insurance and Speedpro signs replaced an existing van that was limping along on its last legs.

“None of the work we do would be possible without the support of the community. Our program is just the vehicle for delivering the generosity and kindness of others without whose help we couldn’t do any of what we do,” said van Heerden.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Sooke Fire Rescue firefighters evacuate an injured hiker on Mount Manuel Quimper in March 2021. Sooke will soon be moving to a new fire dispatch service. (Facebook – Sooke Fire Rescue)
Proposed fire dispatch deal could save Sooke thousands of dollars

New dispatch needed after Langford drops out of CRD service

Al Kowalko drives Sooke School District’s first electric bus that began operation in May. The board decided on June 15 that all future buses will be electric, asking the province for more funding to support the program. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Sooke school board agrees to make all future buses electric

Board to ask province to increase funding to cover the extra up front cost

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Wanted man Michael Bruce was arrested Wednesday in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP find wanted man hiding under mattress

Michael Bruce had multiple warrants out for his arrest in Sooke and the West Shore

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits he failed to supervise his staff and find or report the shortages

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

Most Read