Mustard Seed Donations Reach Record Low
Oct 10, 2012
(News Release) Victoria – Financial contributions to The Mustard Seed are down by more than 20 per cent from October 2010 levels. The organization is urgently appealing to the Victoria community to make a financial donation to help maintain services for Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens.
“We saw a significant decrease in donations in 2011 and donations so far this year are even lower,” said Reverend Chris Riddell, executive director, The Mustard Seed. “We have managed to maintain our service levels so far but without new donor dollars, we will have to reduce our programming.”
Interim measures, including a 25 per cent reduction in paid staff time, have been put into place to reduce operating costs. That is over and above the six per cent budget reduction that The Mustard Seed made for the 2012 fiscal year.
The Mustard Seed serves approximately 7,000 people per month with services that run seven days per week. Clients of The Mustard Seed are able to connect with a caring community and access food hampers, a clothing bank, and other support services that can get them through times of need. They can also access resources and programming to find opportunities to improve their lives.
“We are still serving as many people as ever, and many more in some months,” said Riddell. “A 20 per cent spike in need during the month of June has made a significant financial impact as we continue to maintain service with less money.”
People wanting to help The Mustard Seed can make a financial donation online at mustardseed.ca, by phone at 250-953-1575, or by mail or in person at 625 Queens Avenue. The charity is hoping to encourage more donors to provide monthly donations, which will help to maintain a steady cash flow, as many financial donations are now received near the end of each calendar year.
In addition, one of The Mustard Seed’s major fund and food raising events of the year, The Great Canadian Food Fight, will be held from 6 p.m. Thursday, October 11, 2012 to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Ogden Point.
Clients of The Mustard Seed include a growing number of families who, for many reasons, are accessing services like the food bank and the life skills programs available through The Mustard Seed’s family centre.
Eric, a family man with two young children, is currently unable to work as he awaits a kidney transplant. He has been using the services of The Mustard Seed to help support his family and recently completed a life skills program to better-prepare himself for employment when he is back to full-health. Eric was a teacher in his war-torn homeland of Sierra-Leone and is determined to build a life for his family in Canada and to give back to his community. The Mustard Seed has given him a supportive community and a new set of skills, including money management and banking. In turn, Eric is giving back as a volunteer to support others in need.
“What I really want the people of Victoria to understand is that their donations are truly making a difference,” said Riddell. “With the support of our community, we are able to work with people in need to make significant positive changes in their lives.”
About The Mustard Seed
The Mustard Seed is a street church that has been helping people living in poverty since 1975. The programs and services of The Mustard Seed are 100 per cent community-funded and include Vancouver Island’s largest food bank, counseling, advocacy and outreach services, a drop-in centre with a coffee shop, clothing bank, haircuts, nursing and chapel, a family centre with life skills programs, and an addictions recovery program at Hope Farm Healing Centre. The Mustard Seed relies on approximately 40 volunteers per day to serve those in need.