The first Little Free Pantry in Langford has seen a complete turnover of taken and donated goods in its first week, according to its founders from the Saanich Baptist Church.
The pantry at 2878 Leigh Rd. opened Sept. 19 and is stocked with canned goods, granola bars, chips and cereal for anonymous access by community members in need. In one week, at least 60 items of food have been donated to the pantry, which holds around 30, said co-founder Kevin Clark.
The area surrounding the pantry’s location has seen an increase in subsidized housing, added co-founder Gerry Alderliesten.
“There’s a community around there that needs help, especially with the brutal cost of living in housing,” he said. “And some people are those who just won’t go to a food bank.” The Little Free Pantry allows people to discreetly stop by, take what they need and walk away, he added.
Kept from congregating during the pandemic, Clark, Alderliesten, their families and another volunteer met to brainstorm ways to serve the community during what they determined was a time of need. The Little Free Pantry idea was inspired by an identical feature in Rock Bay.
“One of the family members of our group had a garage and a workshop, so we all worked on it together,” Alderliesten said of constructing the pantry. “Even the kids were doing things like sanding, painting and all that.”
Reception throughout their community and online has also been “extremely positive,” he said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming, actually. We don’t know yet how well this is going to work, if it’s going to take off or be used … but the publicity is nice for people to know that it’s there.”
It’s equally important, he said, that people know to donate to the pantry as well, so “it becomes a community sharing sort of thing.”
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