Laura Cochrane, board chair for the Shelbourne Community Kitchen, invites the public to an open house Monday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at its location at 3541 Shelbourne St. Saanich News file photo

Shelbourne Community Kitchen sets table for open house

Instead of the traditional food hamper, participants can brouse the pantry to select their items

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen is cooking up a warm welcome for the public. The non-profit organization is hosting an open house Monday, Nov. 27 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at its location on 3541 Shelbourne St.

Everyone is welcome to take a casual tour of the kitchen and enjoy some light refreshments made on site. More than a food bank, the kitchen offers participants small-group programs to learn how to source, prepare, grow and preserve nutritious and affordable food on a limited budget.

The kitchen serves as a one-stop shop for its participants. Instead of the traditional food hamper, participants are invited to browse the pantry – selecting one item from one shelf, two from another, not forgetting to take a selection of produce from the fridge, much of it grown on site.

“I think our pantry program really champions dignity, choice and respect. People get to pick their own food, they’re not being supervised. And then the fresh produce coming in from our garden programs as well as gardeners in the area – it’s just a great little system,” said program co-ordinator Kim Cummins in a previous interview.

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen is now launching a fundraising campaign to support its current and future programs. Saanich council recently approved a second temporary use permit for the kitchen to provide some stability that the kitchen can remain at its current location.

“We have great plans to build on our already successful programs and services but needed council’s approval to do that in our current location,” said community kitchen board chair Laura Cochrane. “Now we can begin fundraising in earnest to expand the work that is so necessary in our community.”

The kitchen supports more than 400 people from the local community. Operating since 2013, the kitchen serves as a model for improving food security though learning vital food skills and building community connections. It runs its programs with just one paid staff member and 170 volunteers. Additional funds are needed to hire an additional staff member to help run the organization and to accommodate those on waiting lists for all of the kitchen’s programs.

Visit the Nov. 27 open house to find out more, or check out the website at www.shelbournecommunitykitchen.ca.

editor@saanichnews.com

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