If you struggle with food insecurity, Cowichan Valley Basket Society is here to help.

Food insecurity means that you cannot reliably afford to buy nutritious food for yourself and those in your household.

This can range from often having to buy low-cost/low-nutrition foods as the only option, or simply not being able to afford groceries at all because the bank account is empty.

Food is often last on the list after critical ongoing costs such as housing, utilities, and clothing are taken care of.

To make a appointment for a hamper call the office at 250.746.1566

Choice Hamper Shopping

Thanks to the generous donations of donors and food suppliers, a nutritious food hamper is available once every 30 days to anyone who feels they are not able to purchase enough food for themselves and their family.

Each hamper is specially created for your family with up to a week’s supply of food.

You decide if you need a hamper, no income qualification necessary.

Hamper distribution is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – 9:50 am to 12:30 pm.

Special Saturday pickup of pre-order hampers is available for families who are unable to come during regular hamper hours.

Call ahead to register and schedule a time to pick up a hamper. Call 250.746.1566

On your first visit we ask that you bring a piece of Government ID for each member in your family.

In addition to the monthly hamper, extra fresh vegetables, fruit and bread are available each day in the center during regular open hours.

A hamper with choices

When you arrive, the hamper host will check you in and help you choose the food items from the list of food we regularly have on our shelves.

After choosing your hamper items, it will be packed for you and will be ready for pickup on the table outside the back door.

Shopping with points

Depending on your family size you will receive a point value to create the shopping list from the standard list of items we keep on hand.

If you wish more of one item, choose more. If you don’t like something, choose something else.

Our goal is to provide a hamper of food that best suits your needs which reduces waste.

While you wait for your hamper take the opportunity to shop in the self shopping area.

See Chart For Your Shopping Points

Self Shopping Area

  • After selecting groceries from the shopping list you have the opportunity to shop from the extra shelves (chart indicates how many items)
  • From the bakery shelves (one item per family, families 5 and larger can pick 2 items)
  • Vegetable shelves (choose what you can use in the next few days)
  • Bread shelves (grab what your family needs for a few days)

Hamper Questions

Why did we change to hampers with a choice?
Many of you, our hamper guests, were telling us that hampers were not always the same size and felt you were receiving items that you did not need or want.

Points allow us to know what you want, and that allows the great volunteers to make each hamper approximately the same value.

How are point values for an item determined?
We regularly check retail cost and set the point value based on generic brands. If we have surplus of an item, the value may be reduced for a period of time.

A total dollar value that is shown on the shopping list, is this exact?
No the value shown is approximate.

Can I choose more of one item?
Yes if you want only a few items, but more of one you can. There is a limit on a few items, e.g. meat.

Is there an endless supply of food?
No there is not. But thanks to generous donations of many donors we currently have enough and points allows us to share it fairly.

How often can I get a hamper?
Once every 30 days.

Why are there a few questions when I register?
Some of our funding is based on the generic information we gather, eg. how many families, how many seniors, how many hampers are given away to those with full time work? If you wish to not give an answer to a question asked, no problem. It will not effect if you get a hamper.

The only financial question we ask is what is the source.


In addition to the monthly hamper, extra fresh vegetables, fruit and bread are available each day in the center.

About best before date

Best before dates are not an indicator of food safety. A “best before” date is set by the manufacturer and is about best quality or freshness and is used for inventory purposes.

We accept food within a year of its best before date and follow guidelines from Food Banks Canada and Alberta Health Services regarding food safety.

Products with expiry dates include baby food, baby/infant formula, adult liquid meal supplements (i.e. Boost, Ensure, Glucerna, Resource, etc.), and fresh meat. We do not accept food that has expired.

More information can be found at:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Health Canada website

Food Banks Canada Safe Food Handling Program


Call us for an appointment – we are here to help.  250.746.1566 or email Office@cvbs.ca