Sunshine Coast Food Service Response (SCfsr) works with local restaurants and food partners to create delicious, affordable, freshly frozen meals that can be purchased from a number of local retail partners. SCfsr donates one meal to the community for every 5 meals that sell. Sunshine Coast Community Services Society assists in dispersing the meals and ensures that donated meals contribute to the needs of vulnerable and food insecure community members. Our goal is to support local food business, to provide additional food security to our community, and to provide new ways for people to treat themselves while supporting their neighbours. This is a social enterprise dedicated to serving the Sunshine Coast community.
Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?
Answer: SCfsr is a collaborative program. The meal program is currently being run and meals being produced through our Wheatberries Bakery location in Davis Bay by our family, and we all love sourcing local ingredients and products to be a part of our offerings.
Early in March when our local economy had it’s first shutdown, Wheatberries Bakery, Drift Cafe and Ginger Jars collaborated on the SCfsr program. We were concerned about how vulnerable and low income people would feed themselves if they needed to isolate at home. We understood that we were facing a somewhat uncertain future in relation to food security on the coast, and that commercial kitchens represented a community asset that could be leveraged. We believed a meal program that would start to build an inventory of prepared meals, that would be available to meet community needs as they developed, would be an important part of a co-ordinated food response towards protecting our community.
Early contributors to our program included Wheatberries Bakery Davis Bay, Drift Cafe, Smitty’s Oyster House, and Buono Osteria. When our restaurant partners re-opened their operations, we shifted the meal production solely back into our Wheatberries Bakery Davis Bay kitchen where it has remained throughout the summer.
In terms of local purchasing, we use local products and local businesses whenever we can. For instance, we partnered with The Butcher for 2-3 months on a bangers and mash meal that was both super delicious and very popular. Whatever we can’t source locally we receive through B.C.-based food distributors like Yen Brothers and Snow Cap.
We work with local suppliers for our business purchases too. Gibson’s Copy Shop does all of our printing for us and have been very supportive of our work. , Persephone Brewing did our grocery deliveries early on (and many others too!) and they sell some of the meals at the Brewery now. Our other service providers would be the same as the ones we use for Wheatberries. We use The Coast Group Accountants, our banking is with the Sunshine Coast Credit Union and our insurance is with Westland Insurance. We try to be as intentional with our spending as possible, to support other local businesses; we are constantly working towards a more hyper-localized supply chain.
All of our retail partners are also local businesses. We work with IGA Gibson’s, Clayton’s Heritage Market, Goodacre Market, Persephone Brewing, Wheatberries Bakery Gibsons and seasonally with Coast Fresh Foods in Davis Bay.
Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?
Answer: Our whole business model is intended to serve a social purpose – we work with Sunshine Coast Community Services to connect with vulnerable kids in the schools, seniors who are isolated or who might have trouble preparing meals for themselves, and those who rely on augmenting their food supply. To date (November 2020) our program has donated over 1700 meals to local vulnerable folk. As local food companies, our network believes intrinsically in the fact that food service begins with the opportunity to be in service to each other, and that this is how we contribute or respond abundantly to challenging times like we all now face.
We’re also really proud to model partnership and collaboration with other foodservice organizations. We love being able to do that. We’re proud of the meals we create and how they have been received.
Ultimately the program has been made a success through the shared efforts of production and retail partners, as well as a generous and appreciative clientele who both love the meals and the social impact that goes along with each sale.
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