'Some kids are going hungry': Once homeless, owner of Chilliwack meat shop aims to help others
A Chilliwack meat shop has taken it upon itself to combat rising food costs.
Tydel Foods in the heart of downtown Chilliwack opened in 2020 and has been selling steaks, chicken and other meats at a fraction of the price seen at chain grocery stores.
“Some kids are going hungry," said Brigida Crosbie, the store's owner.
"They are not eating behind closed doors and I know exactly what that’s like.”
Ten years ago, Crosbie faced homelessness with her daughters after she says she left an abusive partner. For months, the former nurse would rely on colleagues bringing food into work, or – at times – eating out of a KFC garbage can.
“It was the worst time of my life, for sure,” said an emotional Crosbie.
After a few months on the streets, Crosbie says a friend helped her get back on her feet and move into an apartment.
After retiring two years ago from Fraser Health in Chilliwack, she decided to embark a new challenge—one she had no prior experience with— running a meat shop.
“Someone once told me responsibility is two words: response and ability. If you have the ability to do something, what is your response going to be?” said Crosbie.
Three years later, there is a line of customers wrapped around the exterior of the shop.
Bradley Gionet has been a customer for the past year.
The Chilliwack resident has made weekly stops to Tydel Foods to pick up affordable proteins to help feed dozens of Ukrainian refugees he’s housed.
“A couple of weeks ago, Brigida was able to fill 17 freezers for Ukrainian families,” said Gionet. “It’s made a huge difference for sure.”
Food banks across the province have seen a record number of new clients in recent months. The rising cost of food has been a contributing factor in that growth.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has served around 21,000 people regularly since the summer. The food bank says that number continues to grow as many face food insecurity.
For customers at Tydel Foods, a bookcase is full of canned and dried goods for those who need them.
Still, for many customers, the meat shop is just an affordable option to get quality meats at a discounted price.
“With 11 in our house, it really helps to buy meat here,” said customer Katy St. Germain.
“This place helps big time,” said new customer Jolene Common.
Due to the growing demand, Crosbie is planning to open a second location in Chilliwack next month, a dream that has now become a reality that she thanks the community for helping support.
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