BLANK SPACER

Creator of Fairfield community pantry hopes to help destigmatize food insecurity

Victoria food pantry is modeled after Little Free Libraries

A Fairfield woman’s vision for a community food pantry has become a reality.

A new food pantry outside the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association building offers non-perishable food items for anyone in need. It operates on a “leave what you can, take what you need” basis. (Courtesy of Caitlin Boudreau)

Using a City of Victoria My Great Neighbourhood grant, Caitlin Boudreau created a food pantry outside of the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association building. Based on the concept of the popular, Victoria-wide Little Free Libraries, the food pantry runs on a ‘give what you can, take what you need basis,’ with a goal of making food easily accessible for anyone who might need it.

Boudreau says it’s been a busy spot since it was installed two weeks ago – at one point the pantry was so full that an overflow basket was placed next to it for additional donations.

“It really warms my heart to see how much people are involved,” she said.

Boudreau, a registered dietician for the Victoria Cool Aid Society, applied for the grant through the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association. While she spearheaded the project, Boudreau says the pantry belongs to the entire community.

READ ALSO: Celebrating the successes during a trying year

“My goal is that it’s not my pantry. It’s just something we are all working on.

“Food insecurity is something we don’t always see,” she added. “Now with COVID, I think that’s really added another layer to stress, and perhaps food insecurity for people who were once a bit more food secure.”

Boudreau said another goal is to reduce stigma.

“It shouldn’t be this hidden thing or something that people feel shame about. I want people to feel comfortable just coming and going.”

The pantry has already been filled with everything from coconut water and cans of beans to homemade jams and tomato sauce. For now, only non-perishable items are encouraged.

“I really want people to use it. The donation aspect has been amazing, we have tons and tons of stuff,” Boudreau said. “I’m really wanting people to get out there and grab some stuff.”

Boudreau said she has dreams of one day expanding the initiative into something bigger. For now, she hopes it might inspire other Victoria residents to start something similar in their own neighbourhoods.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 threatens the food security of millions of Canadians


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Food BankGreater VictoriaVictoriaVictoria Cool Aid Society

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read