Thanks to the initiative of Gerry Frederick and the support of other humanitarian Paul Blais and materials from Rona and The Home Depot, a community food pantry that aims to provide food to those who need it has been installed on 308 Ave in Marysville.
Frederick got the idea after seeing it on the Facebook page of Blais, who provides free, daily breakfasts to Cranbrook’s homeless population. Frederick says that while these pantries exist all over the United States, there are only three or four he’s aware of in Canada.
“I simply think this is a great way to pay it forward and leave a local impact for those that are truly in need,” said Frederick. “And it’s very easy for anyone in the community to get involved.”
The pantry will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the hope is that people throughout the community will help keep it stocked with non-perishable food items, and even things like individual wrapped cutlery and can openers. Frederick says that he wants to avoid people putting in fresh food such as fruits and vegetables from their garden — though their hearts are in the right place, there’s no guarantee perishable food won’t go bad or attract animals before it is collected.
Choosing the location for its installation was a bit of a problem. Frederick explained that in a perfect world it would be placed in the most high traffic area possible. however, it needed to be on a private location, owned by people who understand and support the program.
The chosen spot on 308 Ave in Marysville is owned by people known to Blais and it is located on a road he drives by every day.
It was built by Frederick with extra materials supplied by Rona and the Home Depot, Frederick also stocked it up for the first time. He added that, that in the 24 hours since he gave the interview the Townsman, he has had requests for three more community pantries, one of them in Wycliffe.
There are a few ways people can get involved, Frederick explains.
“They can contribute food items and perhaps even small toiletry items,” he said. “People can donate cash that would go towards building costs and food items. Another easy way is to buy gift cards from building supply retailers that would go directly to the costs of building materials.”