Frequently Asked Questions
Who are we?
We are a grassroots, community-driven organization that has been operating on Lekwungen territory since March 2020, providing around 70 families a month with free hampers delivered weekly. Food insecurity has always existed, but the onset of Covid-19 exacerbated the barriers many people face to accessing food.
2. How does it work?
Volunteer drivers pick up food from participating locations and transport it to a central location where it is safely sorted into individual boxes. We have outlined rigid health and safety standards for volunteers participating in the program to ensure it is as safe as possible. Community members in need of food can fill out a google form and request a free box for delivery. This program is designed to be as barrier free as possible.
3. How can I sign up for a hamper?
You can sign up for a hamper by following this link to our google form. We have a capacity of 75 households we can support each month. If the form has been closed for the month, stay tuned on social media (instagram and facebook @communityfoodsupportvic) for an update on when it opens next. The date will also be listed on our website.
We are only able to provide hampers to folks whose postal codes start with: V8X, V8N, V8P, V8R, V8T, V8W, V8S, V8V and V9A. We do not have the ability to deliver to Sooke and the West Shore.
4. How will I know if I’m getting a hamper?
Hampers go out on Tuesdays, and on Monday nights we send confirmation emails to everyone who is receiving a hamper. If you fill out the form and submit it, you will receive hampers for the next month unless you hear otherwise from us.
5. What comes in a hamper?
What comes in the hampers can vary a lot from week to week. 90% of the food we distribute is rescued, and comes from several grocery stores. For this reason we don’t always have control over what we have to distribute. We aim to balance the hampers as much as we can by purchasing and adding staples like rice, beans, milk, peanut butter etc.
Generally you can expect produce, 1-2 bread products, dairy, rice, and a protein source.
6. How will I get my hamper if I sign up?
All of our hampers are delivered Tuesday afternoon between 2 and 4. We ask that folks can have someone home during this time to receive the hamper. If you live in a house, the hamper can be left at your doorstep. If you live in an apartment building you must be home during this time frame. You can also leave delivery instructions for the delivery drivers.
7. What if I’m not home during the time hampers are delivered? Can it be delivered at another time?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any variations to this delivery schedule. We are a completely community and volunteer run operation, and only have access to the space we use until 3pm, and are unable to store the hampers, or send them out at a later time.
8. Can I pick up my hamper?
At this point we are unable to accommodate pick-ups. We have a lot going on while we are packing hampers and organizing delivery, and have to limit how many people are on site due to COVID-19 restrictions.
9. How can I get involved?
We welcome anyone who would like to be involved in any capacity to get in touch with us! If you are interested in volunteering, you can fill in and submit the google form for volunteers here. Shortly after you do, a member of our group will follow up with information about COVID safety, volunteer shifts and info how to sign up. We appreciate all involvement, and would love to chat with folks who are unavailable for our regular shifts, or have another way they would like to be involved, or a skill or resource to offer!
10. What kind of volunteer positions are there?
The main thing we need volunteers for are
Driving and delivering hampers to recipients in the community. This shift starts between 2:30 and 3 on tuesday afternoon and ends by 4:30. This requires a car that can fit 6 big paper grocery bags of food.
Sorting food and packing hampers. We only need 6 people to do this, so often these slots are full. We will contact volunteers if we have openings. This does not require a car. The shift takes place at Quadra Community Gym in Quadra Village.
We also have volunteers that pickup food donations and bring them to the Gym. These are usually filled by the same people every month.
We have a number of one off volunteer opportunities, or specific roles that individual folks can fill. In the past folks have volunteered to help us with finances, to help with website design etc. If you would like to stay in the loop about one off opportunities, message us about joining the slack channel. If you have a specific skill you’d like to offer us, we would love to hear from you!
11. I am interested in supporting this project but I don’t have time to volunteer. Is there a way to donate money towards the food hampers?
Yes! You can e-transfer funds to or donate to our go fund me here. Food Support fundraiser tote bags are also available for purchase at Camas Book & Infoshop at 2620 Quadra Street. 100% of tote bag proceeds come back to CFS.
12. Where do you spend the money you raise?
Every week we spend a few hundred dollars on purchasing supplementary food for the hampers, beyond what we get from donations. Though most of our food is donated, a majority of what we receive is carb and fruit heavy, so we aim to balance the hampers by purchasing protein sources, rice, and staple vegetables for cooking. We also offer reimbursement to regular volunteers who need support with the cost of gas. Besides this we occasionally use money to purchase cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, garbage bags and other incidentals.
13. Are you a registered non profit?
No, we are not a non-profit or a business. We are a community driven organization premised on mutual aid.
14. What COVID protocols do you follow?
We work with Quadra Community Center to follow the provincial workplace guidelines for COVID-19.
15. How do you make sure only people who need it are receiving the hampers?
We provide hampers with no questions asked and aim to make the process of receiving hampers as barrier free as possible. Everyone deserves access to healthy food and we provide support to anyone who needs it. In a society that teaches us that we as individuals are solely responsible for taking care of ourselves, and that an inability to do so is a personal failing, stigma and shame can act as a barrier to asking for support, or accessing resources. Through this work we aim to normalize asking for support, and creating interdependent communities that support each other through mutual aid.
16. Can I ask for non-health related dietary preferences to be accommodated in my hamper?
It is difficult for us to accommodate specific requests about what is in the hampers. Each week we receive 90% of our available food from local grocers, and it is up to their stock and discretion what we receive. We are happy to make accommodations for allergies and other health related needs and exclude foods as needed. Beyond this, we are unable to accommodate specific requests due to the limits of our own capacity. Hampers are not recommended for severe food allergies as we cannot guarantee zero cross-contamination.
17. How can I get involved with the related community fridges project?
We are currently organizing to install a community fridge! If you are interested in being a part of the project, you can get in contact with us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or dm us at communityfoodsupportvic on facebook or instagram, and we will happily loop you in.
18. Why do you only have in-person volunteer opportunities during the day on Tuesdays? Could you move in person shifts to the evening or weekends so I can participate?
As of now our shifts are Tuesday afternoons only. This is because this was the only time we were able to consistently have use of the Quadra Community Gym to sort the hampers. In the past we have struggled to find a location to pack hampers, and the costs have been high to rent space. We use the Community Gym for free, and are grateful for this space, so for now we have to stick to Tuesday afternoons.