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Where did the idea for these pantries come from? 

This is an initiative that been seen worldwide, though especially in North America. There is the Little Free Pantry resource, which contains all the relevant information to creating one's own pantry. 

How was this project initially funded?

This project is made possible thanks to 8 80 Cities, the Balsam Foundation and Ontario Community Changemakers. Ontario Community Changemakers use their energy, creativity, and collaborative partnerships to create real community change. 20 young Ontarians between the ages of 18 to 35 are selected each year to receive a microgrant to see their project through.

Goderich resident Avery Greaves was named one of the 2022 Ontario Community Changemakers. Avery has worked in Goderich and surrounding area for close to a decade, in a number of community and tourism-based roles. 

How do these pantries differ from other food pantries? 

According to Little Free Pantry (LFP): 

  • "The LFP is small, limiting its quantity and variety. Bricks-and-mortar food pantries are better at meeting pervasive need.

  • But some fall through the cracks. The LFP is a safety net.

  • For example, some bricks-and-mortar food pantries require an application. Most have hours of operation. Anyone may access the LFP at any time.

  • LFP is a centrally-located reminder of our neighbors’ need that creates neighborhood space for exercising compassion, trust, and mutual aid (SOURCE)." 

Why are these pantries necessary in Goderich? 

According to Perth Huron United Way: "57% of people with incomes in Perth-Huron earn less than a living wage ($35,262 annually). 1 in 6 Canadian children live in a household struggling to put food on the table. 4% of the population in Perth-Huron had more than one job in 2019. That number grew to 6% in 2020 (SOURCE)." 

According to Feed Ontario, "Only two communities out of 100 in the province can afford rent on minimum wage, and there is a waitlist for social housing in every community. In 2019, in Huron Bruce 2212 people used food banks a total of 10187 times, with 34 % of visits by children. 559 people in Huron County received Ontario works and 2465 are on disability. 21% of households are renters - 40% of those are in a core housing need. 342 people are on a social housing waitlist in Huron County. The poverty rate in Huron County is 13 percent (Ontario is 14%) and the child poverty rate is 18% (SOURCE)." 

According to the County of Huron: "The 2018 enumeration project indicated that Huron had 100 individuals experiencing homelessness at that time.  Enumeration findings in November 2021 counted 169 individuals experiencing homelessness in Huron County. It is important to note that this point-in-time count represents the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in the region (SOURCE)." 

How was the project approved? 

This project proposal was submitted to the Town of Goderich Council on August 15, 2022. It was considered at Regular Council Meeting on Monday, August 29, 2022. It was unanimously approved by all Council members. The video where Council discussed it can be found HERE

Why were the three locations selected to have a pantry placed on them? 

Much consideration was made regarding the location of the pantries. The town was divided into quarters, with the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul occupying the southeast corner of town. We wanted to make sure that there was equal access to the pantries with every other corner of town, hence their locations of the John O'Keefe Park, Goderich Library and the Goderich Tourism Information Centre. Initially the project proposed to have a pantry located at Victoria Street Park, however, after hearing community feedback moved the pantry to the Goderich Tourism Information Centre. 

Who is involved in this project? 

We have around 20 volunteers on the ground who check in on the pantries on a daily basis. As of January 2023, we now have an Executive Committee made up of approximately 15 individuals - their roles include such things as accounting, communications/promotions, fundraising and more. 

What safety precautions have been considered in the use of these pantries? 

Safety is paramount in these pantries, a number of considerations have been made including, but not limited to:

  • Having the posts of the pantries professionally installed, by Town Staff 

  • Having the pantries built by a professional carpenter, built using approved and drafted specs 

  • Having the doors of the pantries be made of plexiglass rather than traditional glass 

  • The organizer received their Canadian Institute of Food Safety ‘Food Handler Certificate’ (September 2022), after going through a training series

    • The Canadian Institute of Food Safety’s official Food Handler Certification Course meets Canada’s legal requirements for food safety training. It is: 

      • nationally recognized

      • accepted by Health Inspectors

      • food safety audit compliant

  • Have a volunteer force checking in on each of the three pantries on a consistent basic, to see that they are in good shape, remove inappropriate items, etc. 

  • This website clearly outlines what items will and will not be accepted

  • The doors of the pantries also have a list of what items will and will not be accepted and indicate that for those taking from them to not take any items which do not meet the requirements 

  • Postcards going out to each home in Goderich which explain how to use the pantries and to check the expiry dates on any items being using/consuming them 

  • The pantries themselves will each have a sign affixed to them with our DISCLAIMER (DISCLAIMER: Items in the Goderich Free Little Pantries have been anonymously donated. Goderich Free Little Pantry, property owners, donors, volunteers and organizers associated with the project assume no liability and make no warranty of the contents or quality of the items placed within them. Partake at your own risk.)

  • A lawyer was consulted during this process and was made aware of all of the precautions being taken

  • The Donation of Food Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 19 speaks more to the use/legalities of donated food

How will you prevent young children from accessing these pantries? 

The pantries are not located in areas where young children are typically present without a guardian. The pantries will be situated at a height that will not allow for very young children to be able to access them, but still low enough that someone using an assistive device will still be able to access them (i.e. in the case of an individual using a wheelchair). We will also create signage within the pantries that asks that nut-based products be placed on the highest shelves. 

How will you prevent animals from accessing these pantries? 

These pantries are to only contain packaged non-perishable food items. There will be magnetic closures installed on the pantries, to prevent the doors from easily being able to be opened. *A magnetic closure versus a lock afford accessibility to members of our community who do not have the ability/dexterity to open small locks. 

I have further questions 

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at

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