A New Home for the Shelbourne Community Kitchen!

 Banyan Group & Craig Thomas   (May 7, 2021)

When Craig Thomas bid on the project to renovate the new home of the Shelbourne Community Kitchen, he was already very familiar with the organization. The project manager for Banyan Construction was already a weekly volunteer at the old bungalow. The former high performance decathlete and rower is applying the same philosophy he applied to athletics to the two-phase upgrade of The Kitchen’s new facility at Lutheran Church of the Cross.

“I view my career as high performance, where you put in the work to do a high end project,” he says, “whether it’s constructing a new building or helping an organization.”

It was sports that led Thomas to The Kitchen in the first place. He was introduced to rowing in Toronto by his future wife Alexis who was good friends with Odessa Kelebay, now Pantry Program Coordinator at The Kitchen. The trio eventually moved to Victoria, and when Odessa started at The Kitchen, Thomas and Alexis decided to volunteer. When he heard about the plans to renovate The Kitchen’s new home, Banyan submitted a bid and won the project contract. 

Thomas says Banyan is a good fit for theKitchen as the two organizations share many of the same attributes. Both strive for an equal, open and friendly atmosphere based on trust and transparency.

The overall budget is being helped enormously by the number of local businesses willing to donate labour or materials. The list continues to grow but currently includes: Banyan, supplying labour for demolition, rough and finish carpentry; interior doors and hardware from GT Mann; interior glass (to provide volunteers with natural light) from Phoenix Glass in Vancouver; electrical work by Brewis Electric; insulation for the new walls from Alpine Insulation; and paint from Sherwin Williams. Don Mann Excavation removed a tree from the property.

The value of the materials and donated or reduced cost labour amounts to about $50,000. Banyan employees and Kitchen volunteers are contributing to that total by doing the interior painting. 

Stay tuned for updates as the project continues! 


Media Release: March 1, 2021

Saanich, BC – The Shelbourne Community Kitchen is pleased to announce that they have secured a new location for a new expanded facility. The new premises will be located at 3787 Cedar Hill Rd, on the lower level of the Lutheran Church of the Cross. The entrance to the new facility will be on Cedar Hill Cross Road.

“We are so excited to have found a new central and accessible location that will allow us to continue our work and expand the services that help so many people.  Our new facility will double our space and capacity” states Clarice Dillman, Board Chair.

A lease has been signed and a building permit is submitted that is currently awaiting approval. Construction is anticipated to begin March, with a tentative occupancy date of May.  Services will continue in the current location for March. All programs will be on pause for April and until the new location opens. The Kitchen regularly supports 800 individuals and families in our community.

Later this spring The Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society, a registered charity, will kick off a capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of a commercial kitchen in the new location.  “The new kitchen will meet all regulatory requirements and will ensure that we can prepare and share healthy meals together, while creating multiple opportunities to enrich our programs,” states Kim Cummins, Program Director.


For more all media inquiries please contact:

  • Clarice Dillman, Board Chair
  • Email: claricedillman@gmail.com

For all inquiries related to programs and services, please contact:

  • Odessa Kelebay, Pantry Coordinator
  • Email: pantry@shelbournecommunitykitchen.ca