The Martensville Free Pantry has been up and running for over a year now and has seen a tremendous amount of support since its inception. “The Pantry has been a resounding success over its first year. When it began, we had no idea how much the community would need it and support it,” Martensville Free Pantry founder Marcy Cross stated. Cross first came up with the idea after volunteering with the Christmas Food Hamper program in Martensville and seeing the need for support within the community. This was even more obvious to Cross after seeing statistics stating that 50% of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque and she quickly realized that there were people within her own community that could really benefit from this initiative. The vision quickly turned into a reality and the Martensville Free Pantry was born and began providing emergency food and supplies to anonymous recipients in the area.
Upon its launch, the Free Pantry was running out of Cross’s residence temporarily until a permanent location could be found. Working with the City of Martensville, a new home located within the hallway of the Martensville Civic Centre was established and since then, the Free Pantry has continued to grow in size.
This growth has been possible through the support of the community. Between businesses, residents and local organizations, the Martensville Free Pantry grew from being able to only accept non-perishable items to having space to provide breads and now offers refrigerated goods. “Organizations across the city have made the Pantry possible; the Lions Club, the Kinsmen, various churches and other amazing groups. Plus, the volunteers we have had this year have been the key to keeping the pantry stocked and flowing,” Cross added. Although there have been some moments where the Pantry runs dry, those times are few and far between thanks to the generous donations from the community. “Two of the biggest keys to the success of the Pantry have been the Martensville Information & Visitors Centre and the Co-op. Without their support, the Pantry would have shuttered after the first few months. We couldn’t be more thankful to everyone in Martensville for the outstanding support they have given the Pantry,” said Cross.
This year, the Martensville Co-op Food Store began providing shoppers with the opportunity to donate items to the Pantry by either putting donations into a bin located within the main lobby, or by purchasing ‘hunger bags’. These pre-packaged bags range in price from $10-$20 and contain items such as; soup, cereal, juice, etc.
Items that seem to be highly sought after within the Pantry include canned goods, pasta, pasta sauce, rice cereal and any/all hygiene items. When donating items, please ensure that you check the expiry date, and that items are unopened.
A new addition this year is a bin which will be accepting clean new and used toys for people to give and take from. “It’s an idea to consider as you go about your holiday shopping. If you happen to come across a small inexpensive children’s gift, please consider donating it to the Pantry. A couple of items made it in last year, and it would be really great to do more this year,” the Martensville Free Pantry Facebook page noted.
The Martensville Free Pantry is being used on a regular basis and requires donations in order to be able to continue providing for the community. If you require items, please remember that the Martensville Free Pantry is available for anyone, and all usage is anonymous.
For more information, visit ‘Martensville Free Pantry’ on Facebook, or contact Cross at (306) 261-2966.