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It’s been a year since Penticton, BC’s community fridge and pantry opened. Co-founders Allison Howard and Dave Corbeil say it’s been a busy first year.
The Purple Pantry is a barrier-free outdoor space in front of the Elks Club on Ellis Street. People can access community-donated food and hygiene products 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It is good that it is used a lot, but the difficulty is that we simply cannot continue. It’s a hard truth how many people use it, but it’s good to know we’re helping,” said founder Corbeil.
“One of the neat things is connecting with people who really need help. They are incredibly polite, incredibly grateful. They take very little. A boy came one day, we filled his bags and he left and said he answered my prayers.”
Barrier Free Community Refrigerator and Pantry is opening in Penticton, BC
Corbeil feels the project has been well received by the community. As the space depends on the ‘take what you need and give what you can’ system, local organizations have stepped up to help bridge the gap.
“The amazing generosity of the businessmen who collected food for us or collected money for us, people we don’t even know. In a way, this project touches the right heart of many people in the community, which makes us feel happy,” said Corbeil.
“It was an enriching experience. We have a great connection within the community. We don’t know all the people who put things into it but that’s how you want it to be – the community to help fill it out. “
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On Sunday, community members, local officials, and community service volunteers gathered at the Purple Pantry to celebrate its anniversary.
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“It’s an understatement that when it came to us everyone had high hopes, but I think the success comes from the people who started the work, Dave and Allison and their group of volunteers, they did a great job,” said Penticon Mayor Julius Bloomfield.
“The city council is good at implementing big ideas and plans, but we don’t know much about small ones. A healthy community, a vibrant community is made up of positive things big and small. We are very proud to have people like Dave and Allison and their volunteers as part of this community.”
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