Ian Baikie is one of the forces behind the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror

Ian Baikie is one of the forces behind the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror

Food security a basic necessity

To Ian Baikie, helping solve Campbell River’s food insecurity problem is about filling a void.

Baikie is one of the coordinators for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen, where he helps out with the daily suppers put on by the Grassroots Kind Hearts Society. However, he is much more than just a coordinator for the program. Baikie was instrumental in helping the society and other food security programs find a home in Campbell River.

Baikie is the former Campbell River fire chief and in that job he saw the volunteers serving meals to people in need in the space behind the downtown fire hall, often in some very difficult conditions.

“Grassroots did a good job for six years or more providing a dinner in often very undesirable conditions. They’ve done amazing work,” he says.

However, last spring the rumour started going around that Grassroots’ home in the Radiant Life Church would be changing.

“When it came to getting themselves into a new building, they seemed to be struggling. It just seemed to be somewhere I could help,” he says. “We asked people about what was going on and people were trying to figure out what to do, but nothing was jelling. Towards the first of September I started to become really involved in finding a new location… I worked with city staff, regional district staff and Campbell River Homelessness Coalition members. We happened upon the location where we are now in the Harbourside Inn.

“We have the building open now and, for me, it’s a matter of empowering people to take it away from me. I was just dealing with the need. I will support the kitchen as much as I can and as long as there’s a need for me to do so, but it’s about fixing a problem that was pretty apparent.”

Baikie’s drive to help people in the community is long-standing. He has been a member of the Campbell River Rotary for over 15 years, making a difference both locally and internationally. It was through Rotary that his latest involvement with the kitchen came about. Baikie was put in charge of an initiative at the start of the pandemic to provide PPE and food dollars to different not-for-profits in the community. As the pandemic wore on, the PPE side of things was passed on to another Rotarian, and Baikie became involved in food security.

Though Rotary has played a big part in his work with the kitchen, Baikie also put a lot of his own personal time into the project. He and a few others did all the construction, including redoing the floors, reconfiguring the booths and making sure everything was brought up to safety regulations.

The results could not be better, he says.

“When it was at the firehall, either inside or outside the Radiant Life Church, we had people who were disgruntled and barely getting by, not feeling very much love… When we came to the kitchen, that all changed,” he says. “I haven’t had a raised voice or any kind of altercation whatsoever in the four months that we’ve been open. It’s a very happy group who seem very appreciative and happy to socialize with one another in a dry, warm, appropriate location. Their behaviour is so much more respectful of each other and of the service than they were in other locations and other times.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Strathcona Gardens is one of many recreation opportunities that could be investigated during a feasibility study. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Strathcona rural and municipal directors disagree on recreation study

Rural directors say study would not affect them, don’t want to pay for it

Red dresses hang on the Longhouse at Campbell River’s Robert Ostler Park on May 5, which is designated as Red Dress Day to commemorate murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. A gathering at the Longhouse was held to mark the day and the MMWIG. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Campbell River gathering commemorates murdered and missing women and girls

Red Dress Day marked by ceremony at Robert Ostler Park

City of Campbell River crews work to repair a four-inch water main near Carihi Secondary School. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Main break leaves Campbell River neighbourhood without water

Students sent home early from Carihi Secondary, businesses closed

The arena at Strathcona Gardens could be in the running for the 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition. File photo – Campbell River Mirror
Strathcona Gardens eyes 2022 Kraft Hockeyville competition

Winner gets to host a pre-season NHL game and $250,000 to help fix their arena

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read