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After fire repairs, Mustard Seed Street Church welcomes community back inside

Tuesday was the first time Robert had been back inside the Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank in nearly six months.

“I came by here one time and I was wondering what happened,” said Robert. “I thought ‘Oh no, the Mustard Seed, they closed down.’”

What Robert saw on March 27 was the aftermath of a devastating fire that started at the front door of the Mustard Seed and spread into the interior of the building.

“It blew through our front doors and created an incredible amount of smoke damage throughout our entire building,” said Treska Watson, director of operations for the Mustard Seed.

Unfortunately, all the food on site had to be destroyed. Fortunately, the operation was able to quickly pivot, serving people from its parking lot.

Half of the building, including the food bank, had to be deep cleaned, which took nearly five weeks. The community space and chapel were nearly a total loss.

“This space here was gutted down to the studs and we had to renovate that and rebuild that,” said Watson, standing in the newly renovated community space.

On Tuesday, the Mustard Seed was showing off the results of that rebuild.

“We had the opportunity to do a refresh, and of course, not the way we would have chosen to be able to do that,” said Watson.

The result is a brighter, larger space, thanks in part to a $5,000 donation from Telus.

Walls were removed, creating a dining hall able to accommodate more people for the charity’s meal programs.

“This place we call the window,” said Rob Jackes, a Mustard Seed volunteer.

Jackes and fellow volunteer Leesa Fitzgerald served soup, sandwiches and coffee to roughly 130 people at the Mustard Seed on Tuesday.

“They are so happy as fall and winter is coming, to be able to come back inside,” said Jackes.

The need for the Mustard Seed’s services continues to grow in the community and shows no signs of slowing down.

Over the last two to three years, food banks across the country have seen a 35 to 40 per cent increase in use.

“It’s not a good news story,” said Watson. “The need is growing.”

On Tuesday night, the Mustard Seed held an open house thanking its donors for helping them rebuild after the fire and to begin fundraising efforts for a new renovation that will hopefully be completed by the end of next year.

“We would like to put showers in for our community and some washer and dryers,” said Watson.

The new addition would create a more wrap-around service, helping people like Robert—as well as thousands of other people every year who call the Capital Region home—get back on their feet.

“They do help, they helped me,” said Robert. Top Stories

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