It’s one of the lesser known food banks in Saanich, and the region, probably because it’s still so new.
And only one year in, the Tuesday night neighbourhood market at Gateway Baptist Church in Broadmead has been so successful, it’s spawning another initiative, the idea of affordable community day care. In particular, the day care would benefit those who’d benefit from it most.
“If food security is an issue, then day care is too,” said pastor Aaron Dyck. “It’s a critical need in that family’s life, we’re hearing it over and over… day care can be a critical piece of moving into a place where food security is less of an issue.
“With day care, that parent can now work, that parent can now go to school, and that parent can now have time to generate resources.”
As Dyck pointed out, you hear about a day care closing somewhere in B.C. every week. And at the same time, the provincial government is working to increase day care spots. Day care at Gateway is still a couple of years away but the need is so dire, the group is already receiving calls, though there’s no wait list yet.
“The needs are going up,” he said.
Gateway is in the finishing stages of a $750,000 renovation that includes washrooms and classrooms as well as increased accessibility. It was a combination of having a multi-use facility ready on the main floor, and knowing there was a need for more food, Dyck said.
“Credit goes to Living Edge, a fairly new party working to address food security, and basically everyone is teaming up,” he said.
Gateway’s neighbourhood market – which offers fresh produce and bread, and other staples – exists thanks to the Mustard Seed’s new Food Rescue program and its 13,500 square-foot Food Security Distribution Centre on the border of Esquimalt and Vic West.
“We’re starting to dream about what it would look like to run a day care here, whose purpose was the same as [the neighbourhood market], to meet a critical need that people have and be part of filling that gap of essential services,” Dyck said. “It’s a game changer.”
The challenge, he admits, will be making it affordable to those who need it.
“We’ll pay the most competitive wage we can. We want to make stories happen, make miracles happen, for those who can dream, ‘if I only had day care, I could accomplish this, or that.’
“To us, miracles are the space between what you can do and what you need.”