Volunteers and patrons of a Victoria food bank say they're heartbroken after the building was damaged in a fire that may have been the work of an arsonist.

Staff at the Mustard Seed Food Bank at 625 Queens Ave. said the suspicious blaze was discovered at around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

"There were two grocery carts filled with debris and it looked like those were lit on fire to go up the side of the wall," said Janine Boice, director of development at Mustard Seed. "We believe it was gasoline or another substance to start it."

The charred exterior of the food bank was a surprising sight for those who rely on it.

"I was shocked. I came here yesterday morning to have a coffee," said Creighton Douglas. "It was very surprising to see that cross burnt like that, and it made me sad…Only good comes out of this place."

The fire has hurt the charity financially as it gears up for one of the busiest times of the year.

"It costs money to repair it, and we're all about bringing funds in to give back, so that is going to be a little bit of a damper on us this Christmas season," said Boice.

It wasn't the only suspicious blaze that night.

Victoria police say they're investigating a series of five fires, including the one at Mustard Seed, as arsons after an apparent firebug struck four separate garbage cans in the city.

In addition to those, a small fire lit outside of the Monterey Centre in Oak Bay is also being investigated by police there.

"It's similar in nature, and that's why it's under investigation," said Oak Bay Fire Asst. Chief Cam Thomson. "Police are on scene and they've also created a file and are continuing their investigation as well."

Anyone with information on the series of fires is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654.

The Mustard Seed say it's currently accepting items for the holiday season such as food, warm clothes, toys for kids and cash donations.