The Saint Vincent de Paul thrift shop on Yates Street will be repurposed, and new operations will include a free store and a food bank modelled like a grocery store. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Saint Vincent de Paul expanding services in downtown Victoria

Yates Street thrift shop to close March 31, re-open this summer with food bank, free store

In an effort to expand services for people experiencing poverty in Victoria, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has announced its Social Concern office will shift operations to their Yates Street location in summer 2018.

The front line service centre will include an additional 2,000 square feet of space, include a food distribution centre and turn the existing thrift shop into a “free” store.

Angela Hudson, executive director of SVDP, recognizes the change will be hard for a community that has utilized the downtown thrift store for over 20 years. But things are changing in the neighbourhood and the need for expanded services continues to rise, she notes.

“Obviously it’s difficult, we understand that, but we’re really excited about the expansion of the Social Concern office,” Hudson says. “That’s an enormous support for the people of downtown.”

The society is excited to be able to expand their current food bank model, she adds, and take a new approach with the “Food with Dignity” program. Previously, the community accessed food bags with a set number of items; the new model will operate like a regular grocery store.

“If people have dietary needs or an allergy we try to accommodate them, but it’s very challenging to do that,” Hudson explains. “This way, the food donated can go directly onto the shelves. It’s a much more dignified way of providing food.”

Grants from the United Way and Victoria Foundation will add to the expanded services, implementing a “Food Security toward Sustainability” program, which provides the society’s housing residents a step toward independence through nutrition and food preparation education, as well as gardening training.

It also broadens the reclamation program, a partnership with Fairway Markets who, for five years have donated produce on a daily basis.

“Gardening and cooking has been lost a little bit, food has become quite processed,” Hudson says. “This is the next step to help people.”

In Sidney, the SVDP thrift store location will also close at the end of March after the lease expires. That store will be amalgamated into the two-year-old location at Keating Cross Road in a building SVDP purchased, to ensure security for years to come, Hudson says. The thrift store at 833 Yates St. will also close under its current format on March 31.

For more than 100 years, Saint Vincent de Paul has provided supportive affordable housing for seniors, single moms and those exiting homelessness across the region. As well, the society operates a community inclusion program for adults with different developmental abilities.

Just Posted

‘Killer’ teaches boxing basics

Step-by-step moves can be practised at home

Hillside Avenue death ruled a homicide, police say

No charges have yet been laid in the killing of Victoria man Joe Gauthier

Hope gets eight year sentence for Church Avenue sex assault

Eight years is the sentence for David Robert Hope, who was found… Continue reading

Valdy to perform in Sooke

Concert takes place March 23 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 16, 2018

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

Dead rabbits found at Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds stoke concerns about Nanaimo virus

A B.C. wildlife veterinarian says a few of the dead bunnies will be sent for diagnosis next week.

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

B.C.-based CEO charged with conspiring to sell unhackable phones to criminals

Vincent Ramos of Richmond, was arrested last week in Seattle in years-long undercover operation

Most Read