It’s larger than most free libraries found on streets around the Comox Valley, and rather than books, Cumberland’s newest structure offers food for those in need.
The Food Shed, a partnership project between Weird Church and the Cumberland Community School Society is a way to provide support for individuals and families in the village facing food insecurity, explained Rev. Ingrid Brown, minister of the Weird Church.
“It’s something that is accessible to anyone, anytime. It operates on the goodwill of the neighbourhood, and we hope with the same fairness and respect from the love as it was born.”
The shed is located at 2688 Penrith Ave. and is available for people to donate or take non-perishable food any day, at any time.
Brown noted anyone can drop off non-perishable, unexpired food or personal hygiene products in the shed, which is five feet wide by five feet high, and has plexiglass doors and is bear-proof.
A second initiative the partnership has created is Good Food Boxes. The boxes are weekly hampers for community members who are experiencing challenges due to loss of income and inability to access food.
To address the community need for those in the village, Cumberland Food Share will purchase, sort and distribute boxes that will include food, gift cards and supplies to those who express a need.
“In this time of need with so many families at home, many people accessed food programs through the schools,” noted Brown.
“It’s particularly difficult because those who want to access the food bank now have even more limited transportation options and can now access good, nutritious food in Cumberland.”
The food share program is in collaboration with LUSH Valley Food Action Society. The goal, said Brown, is to deliver one box every week to individuals, families or anyone who registers for four months or 20 weeks.
Anyone who lives in the village and registers with LUSH will be redirected to the food share program.
Forms to register for a box will be online Friday at the Cumberland Community Schools Society website (www.cumberlandcommunityschools.com).
Brown said they are accepting donations to help the program work to purchase food and gift cards. Donations can be made through a website link (weirdchurchcumberland.com/service-in-the-community) or by cheque or e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org where donors can receive a tax receipt.
Additionally, the organizations are seeking corporate or commercial donations of two chest refrigerators. They are hoping to maintain a presence within the village following the COVID-19 pandemic, and are seeking the fridges to be able to offer fresh eggs and milk to families in their boxes.
For more information or to donate, email Brown at email@example.com.