The Salvation Army on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia has found a new way to help neighbours in need in the form of a food cupboard, which was installed in Roberts Creek in November.

“Before we even had time to stock it, people had filled it with food,” says Darrell Pilgrim, community ministries director, Sunshine Coast Ministries in Gibsons, “which is great, because the whole point is neighbours helping neighbours.”

The bright yellow cupboard was designed by the builder to fit the neighbourhood’s aesthetic, and is located next to the Roberts Creek Community Library.

The Sunshine Coast Salvation Army food bank serves the community from Gibsons to Roberts Creek, but once the pandemic began, some people expressed their concerns that it was difficult to travel to the Gibsons location, especially when the weather is bad or for last-minute items. About 10 to 20 percent of the people the Salvation Army food bank helps are from Roberts Creek.

The idea for the cupboard in Roberts Creek began last spring, and The Salvation Army partnered with the Roberts Creek Community Association. The Sunshine Coast Foundation and District of Sechelt both provided funds for the project.

Volunteers will monitor the cupboard, and The Salvation Army will restock it when needed. The cupboard has already been well-used, Pilgrim notes. The public is also welcome to help stock the cupboard with non-perishables and goods, such as toiletries, and warm clothes, such as gloves.

The cupboard helps bring easier access to necessities, as well as dignity to those who are not comfortable asking for help. “We believe that everybody has a right to food,” Pilgrim says. “Sometimes people can help and sometimes they need help, so it’s about how we do that together.”

Story and photo by Keili Bartlett, Coast Reporter, December 8, 2021.

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