The Mustard Seed's 9-Day $500,000 Radical Renovation
The Mustard Seed had been operating for decades in Victoria, BC. What started off as a small mom and pop operation grew over time into a food bank that served 7000 people every month. They had become a lifeline to many and a well respected and loved charity. Everyone in the city knew the Mustard Seed. What they didn't know was that the building was
unsafe in many ways. There were code violation, outdated electrical, poor workflow, dirty furniture, and outdated restrooms. On top of that the building's utility and maintenance costs were rising steady--plus it was darn right ugly and depressing. But all that changed when community rallied to this amazing organization under the banner of HeroWork.
What Did We Achieve?
We wanted to make the Mustard Seed building sustainable for years to come. Done!
Their utility bills will have decreased thanks to more environmental lighting, improved electrical wiring, and higher quality toilets. We brought the entire building up to code, repairing the safety hazards that could have potentially shut down the organization. We repaired all areas, from h-vac to plumbing, from electrical to flooring.
We created better workflow in the space by adding an office, combining the laundry and janitorial rooms, rebuilding the reception office and clothing bank, by adding extra storage, as well as by re-organizing the Food Bank Client Services area.
We’ve increased the self esteem in the Mustard Seed client base. The sheer beauty of the building has helped volunteers and clients feel better about themselves. Many clients are now volunteering just so they can look after the space. Staff have repeatedly mentioned how people are easier to deal with and how many are taking ownership of the renovation.
Deepened Sense of Community
Lastly, we have deepened the love and community spirit of Victoria. Our Facebook page alone reached tens of thousands of people who followed along with the story. Many now believe that much more is possible and are looking forward to future Hero Work projects.
In total HeroWork has organized $650K worth of renovations in three makeovers that have all been documented through video. Over 150 businesses have donated materials and services. 900 volunteers have been inspired to participate.
HeroWork has had articles written in the Times Colonist, Monday Magazine, as well as the Victoria and Saanich News. The program has been highlighted on CBC radio, CFAX, the Q fm, Kool fm, and the Zone. Makeovers have been featured on CTV, Global, and CHEK TV, culminating in a one-hour made-for-TV special on CHEK. This special was rebroadcast due to popular demand.
But most importantly, community has been inspired through action to believe that much more is possible than they previously thought!