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

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

UPDATED: 64-year-old Victoria man David Atkins found

Atkins was found by Sooke RCMP on Saturday morning

Expect rolling street closures, bus delays as truck convoy moves through region Saturday

The annual Truck Light Convoy will roll through the region starting at 5:45 p.m.

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Most Read