Halifax is a small, but very multicultural city – with more than 200 ethnicities represented. The Kin Club of Halifax meets in the heart of where many new Canadians settle and a number of the lower-income rentals are located.
The community of Fairview saw the need to place two community food cupboards in this part of the city and the response was overwhelming. So much so, that our club began the investigation into placing a third one on the property of the church two of our members attend. The Council of Fairview United Church was very excited to be a part of helping those facing food insecurity (especially in this time of COVID-19). They were also kind enough to donate storage space so we can purchase ‘in bulk’ when sales are good. Our Kin Club was very eager to donate the funds to purchase the Rubbermaid cupboard and make the first purchases to keep us stocked for quite some time.
While there is a very active food bank in the neighbourhood, there are restrictions (you can only go once a month and ID is required – this is very difficult and costly to obtain if you are experiencing homelessness). Our food cupboards are accessible 24-7 and this latest one is fully accessible by wheelchair.
The concept is that anyone that has non-perishables to donate can drop off or if you are in need you can stop by to get what you need at that moment. We were asked ‘what if someone comes and cleans it out’. It has been our experience that this is a tight-knit group and they take care of each other. Those in need are never wasteful.
This is a commitment to our community that will be ongoing for some time we feel – you need devoted volunteers to check in a couple of times a week. Besides canned goods, we also keep cereal, rice, dish detergent, instant coffee, crackers, granola bars, and hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. in the cupboard. We are surprised each time we stop by to see new items added.
We are already looking for a partnership to join with another organization (perhaps a church that will allow us to place on their property) and will be pursuing that soon. Many churches have devoted volunteers and donors already supporting food banks as part of their outreach.
Perhaps a food cupboard would work in your cities/towns.
The family of Kin is ‘serving the community’s greatest need’ and the way these cupboards work is that they are for the people in the community, to be stocked by the people in the community.
“Fairview United Church has traditionally been known as the neighborhood church; always ready to respond to the needs of the community. It’s no secret that folks in our community are struggling to put food on the table. So when Denise and Ron Hirtle along with their Kin Club approached the church with their idea to place an accessible food pantry on the property we wholeheartedly embraced it. We see this as one way we can carry out our mission to love our neighbours.” Rev. Angela MacLean, Minister