Monte Cristo Bakery in Delta donates boxes of unpackaged bread to Deltassist every week, which volunteers pack up and take to different locations around the municipality. Grace Kennedy photo

Deltassist bread program helps feed people in need

The program makes excess bread from a local bakery available to Delta residents who need it

Delta residents in need are finding food in unlikely places thanks to Deltassist and Monte Cristo Bakery.

Around four years ago, when Monte Cristo Bakery moved to Delta, the two organizations joined forces to create a bread gleaning program. Every Wednesday, 30 to 70 cases of bread get dropped off at Deltassist’s North Delta location on Scott Road.

And every Wednesday, that bread is packaged by volunteers and delivered to locations across Delta: from libraries and churches to seniors housing and government agencies.

“It gives me so much satisfaction to know that someone who maybe can’t get a meal a day can have something for them and their family,” said Shahirose Nathoo, operations manager at Monte Cristo Bakery.

Julie Chadwick, executive director of Deltassist said she feels much the same way.

“Prices of food are going up and up and up,” Chadwick said. “This really helps people out.”

“A woman had come up to me in our waiting room and said, ‘Thank you so much for having this here, because it makes a difference because I can buy a bus ticket now,’” she said.

“That’s the difference this bread is making.”

Sometimes, Monte Cristo donates ordinary french bread; sometimes, it’s scones or lemon loafs. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, it was olive bread, crusty french loafs, small hot dog buns and seed-coated bread.

There were six volunteers in Deltassist’s cold back room that day, packaging the bread in plastic bags. Susan Ramsay has been volunteering with the program since it first started.

“It’s a good way to start out every Wednesday; it makes you feel good all day, doing something for the community,” she said.

“There’s a definite need,” volunteer Barbara Leech added. “Someday we might need it ourselves.”

Normally, Ramsay said, there are 10 volunteers who package the bread on Wednesday mornings, plus an additional three or four volunteers who drive the bread to the various locations around the community.

“Our volunteers just run this program,” said Carly Geistlinger, office manager for Deltassist. “Our work is so minimal; They come in, they take care of everything.”

Taking care of everything generally means packaging the bread, since it comes in bulk from the bakery, as well as organizing where the bread should go and how much should be brought to each location.

Once the bread is dropped off, it’s available for all Delta residents.

“There’s no questions asked. People can just take the bread if they need it,” Geistlinger said. “Nobody has to prove that they are poor to have it. There’s no stigma associated with the bread.

“And I think from the people I’ve talked to it does really make that difference.”

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