There were two elements to this project:
- The Dignity Market. Through their food hamper program the Mustard Seed was serving over 5,000 people a month. HeroWork transformed this space into a “Dignity Market,” a shopping experience that returns the dignity of choice to vulnerable people and families who come for food. This new program now uses shopping helpers who build relationships and trust with clients, providing food information, referring services, and helps to implement transformational change.
- Office Rebuild. The Mustard Seed’s continuum of care reaches far beyond the Food Bank, however. To keep providing their services and growing their impact, they needed more office spaces that are properly designed and efficient. Staff were crammed into below standard conditions, reducing morale and team health. HeroWork expanded the upper floor of their building and transformed their offices into efficient and beautiful spaces.
By transforming their warehouse into a Dignity Market and expanding office space, the Mustard Seed’s capacity and facilities has been improved and will affect thousands of people every month for years to come.
Approximate fair market retail value: $650,000
In the end, the work we do is all for the people impacted. A Radical Renovation ripples out change on many levels: through the people and companies who participate in our events, the partner charity’s staff and volunteers gain better working conditions and lower operating costs. The surrounding neighbourhood benefits from better infrastructure. But the biggest impact of all is the vulnerable people who are served.
HeroWork Sponsors: 100
HeroWork Volunteers: 508 (6,032 hours)
People fed by food bank every month: 5000
Mustard Seed Staff Affected by New Offices: 19
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Explore the Mustard Seed
About the Mustard Seed
Since 1975, The Mustard Seed’s purpose has been to be an integral part in fighting hunger, poverty and marginalization to thousands of people struggling in the Greater Victoria region. The Mustard Seed is a community offering a continuum of care that operates:
- The Hospitality Centre for relationship building and advocacy;
- Vancouver Island’s largest food bank, which serves over 5000 people a month;
- The Family Centre, which supports and empowers families; and
- The Hope Farm Healing Centre, an addictions recovery program in Duncan.
- Collaborate with Food Share Network…ADD MORE.
Their mission is to build a resilient community and maintain relationships, all while providing these essential and transformative services to those in need.
About the Dignity Market Model
Historically, food pantries struggled for resources and donations, and with limited food supply they had to have very strict rules about distribution, which resulted in a practice of “pre-bagging” groceries for clients. This means that everyone gets the same or similar food in their bag, which can result in a lot of wasted food, and may not actually serve the needs of the clients. Not every food-insecure person is the same. A mother with children will have different needs for food and nutrition than an elderly man with poor teeth. And a homeless person may not have a kitchen in which to prepare or store certain foods.
"The most revolutionary and most necessary of needed reforms is to let clients assemble their own food boxes. No other single reform makes more of a difference..."
A Client-Choice model can offer a more dignified and personal interaction, while also helping to reduce food waste. Shopping at a grocery store experience, clients can use a cart to choose canned and dry goods from shelves and table displays, as well as fresh items from the refrigerator cases.
This more personal and dignified distribution model offers an opportunity to have one on one conversations with clients, which can lead to determining what if any other assistance is needed to give the client “a hand up”.
How many people are currently served by the Mustard Seed?
• On average, we serve 7,500 distinct individuals per month over our organizational continuum of care. Of these, 5,000 are served by the food bank hamper program per month.
Who will be impacted by the Dignity Market and how?
• People served will range from street homeless, addicted and marginalized, to the working poor and seniors, to single parents and intact families, to students in university and more.
• This Market will return the dignity of choice to those coming for food and empower that choice. It will strengthen the “I am able” attitude and lead to hope and belief in oneself.
Can you give me more information on the “shopping helper?”
• A shopping helper is a person who assists the shopper with such things as reading labels, cooking ideas, and where to find things. More importantly, the shopping helper can have a conversation with the person, hear their story and situation, build relationship and trust, and assist them right then and there with food and referrals. Then, the shopping helper can “engage for transformation” by understanding each person’s thoughts, ideas and referrals for long term success, helping them to hopefully overcome the situation that has them in need in the first place.
Are there other examples of this kind of food bank model?
• Nationally there are less than five food banks that have a dedicated store-like area who offer food and services free of charge food and services. None of them utilize a “shopping helper.”
What will be the impact of the renovated and expanded office space?
• The staff will be more effective and healthy—mentally, emotionally, and physically.
• These new spaces will help foster a culture of team unity that leads to a healthy organization, which benefits the people the Mustard Seed serves.
• Healthy people are more productive, which makes for a great and effective organization with a direct tangible outcome of client impact and service excellence.
Our 2018 Partners
Without these people & companies we wouldn't be able to organize and complete our 2018 Radical Renovations. Thank you to each of them!
Basic Renovation Details
• Former warehouse will be professionally redesigned to provide an inviting interior atmosphere
• New energy-efficient freezers and coolers
• Display structures
• New walls and ceiling
• New lighting
• New and upgraded plumbing
• New electrical wiring
Dignity market entrance
• Re-designed to be welcoming, yet control access
Office to right of dignity market
• Adapted to allow for appointments for dignity market
• Reinforced seismic upgrading
• Redesigned racking and shelving
• Three new offices to be built over dignity warehouse
• Emphasis on openness and lighting – potential skylights
• New cabinets
Old offices upgrade
• Walls opened up with glass to hallways
• Re-painted and decorated
• Replace Flooring
• New furniture
New staff room
• Open concept with glass walls
• Kitchenette with new sinks, fridge, stove, dishwasher
• Drop ceiling
• New furniture
Upstairs office hallways
• Replace flooring
• Upgrade plumbing in dignity warehouse
• Install new plumbing in second floor staff room
HVAC / Ventilation
• Upgrade air exchange and air replacement systems
• Relocate and re-duct heating units for second floor and dignity warehouse
• Upgrade of existing 3 phase 400 amp service
• Subpanels for new 3 phase freezer units (most energy efficient)
• Wiring of dignity market and new offices
• Upgrade of fire code running man signs, emergency lighting
Every Donation Helps Rebuild Another Charity
HeroWork always has new projects on the go. Charities need renovations to make their buildings and spaces good so that they can deliver their mandates. Only Herowork can renovate buildings quickly and efficiently at a fraction of traditional costs.
Using a model akin to a modern-day barn raising, HeroWork inspired community participation, leaving stronger networks and more reliant neighbourhoods.
All Donations Go to Project Supplies
Here is an approximate percentage breakdown of where your donation will be spent across a typical project: 82% renovation materials, 2% renovation labour, 4% professional fees, 4% design supplies, 0% design labour, 2% event supplies, 0% hospitality labour, 1% printing, 4% permits, 1% general costs.
These estimations are based on HeroWork’s historical experience of past projects and may not correspond directly to a specific project. Grants and seed money from recipient organizations cover our operations costs, so 100% of your donation will go to rebuilding charity spaces.
Great crew, organization, and atmosphere.Past HeroWork Volunteer
I love being on Facebook and photo duty. Share the love and community spirit!Past HeroWork Volunteer
Great to see all the amazing effort that's gone into this transformation and kudos to everyone who stepped in to help others.Past HeroWork Volunteer
I am very moved by the whole experience & being part of an enthusiastic community effort.Past HeroWork Volunteer