The issue of food insecurity, which already affected nearly one in five Toronto households, is growing rapidly due to the economic fallout of the pandemic, with almost 12 times more people in the city seeking help to feed themselves this month.
To supplement the efforts of Toronto's food banks, some businesses and residents have begun their own pop-up food banks of sorts, leaving out boxes for people to contribute goods if they'd like to or take them if they need.
If you've never come across a Little Free Library before, they are like mini food banks for books, offering free reads to the public out of decorated, branded boxes with a "take a book, return a book" policy. People are able to join in the popular initiative by setting up and maintaining one of the permanent fixtures in their community.
The idea is one that extends well to things like records and yes, food — so much so that a group of Torontonians have adapted the idea to start mini pantries for those worried about where their next meal is coming from.
The Toronto Little Free Pantries Project. Give what you ca. Take what you need. Christie & Dupont. #community #CoronavirusPandemic #littlepantries #COVID19 #Food @blogTO @CityNews @CBCToronto @NOWTorontoNews pic.twitter.com/N2Pta6TVUh— Martin Reis (@BikeLaneDiary) April 23, 2020
The Toronto Little Free Pantries Project is erecting, stocking and inspiring others to build their own designated, raised wooden boxes to house non-perishable food items for members of the community struggling with food security right now.
"The current coronavirus pandemic has further intensified already mounting food insecurity issues," the projects' founders say on its website, which also has a guide on how to construct a Little Free Pantry, as well as a printable sign to install on it.
"Many local centers and programs which our most vulnerable community members relied upon are now closed or operating at reduced capacity. Now, more than ever, we must come together to support those in need."
So far, 13 of the boxes have been installed by citizens around the city, and their locations are plotted on a map available online.
Anyone who wants to join in the heartwarming community movement by either creating their own Little Free Pantry or donating to one is encouraged to do so, but of course, in line with present health and safety practices, is advised to remember to practice safe physical distancing and hand washing.
by Becky Robertson via blogTO