Free Little PantryThe Goderich Free Little Pantry has been provided supplies to the town's vulnerable population for the last year and a half. (Photo provided by Goderich Free Little Pantry)

Goderich Free Little Pantry looking to new future with new leadership

The Goderich Free Little Pantry is seeking new blood for its executive committee, as many members are moving on.

That includes founder and manager Avery Baker-Greaves, who launched the program in October 2022.

The volunteer executive committee organizes fundraisers and ensures the town's three pantries are stocked throughout the year.

Baker-Greaves says it's a rewarding experience for those that are interested.

"It's been a great experience. The stories that we've heard, the connections that have been made," she said. "I volunteered in a lot of different capacities over the years and I've really enjoyed this work, it's unlike anything else I've done before, and I think a lot of the volunteers would say the same."

She adds that the manager role usually demands 5 to 10 hours a week, with other executive roles commanding less.

The organization is seeking volunteers for roles in management, social media, communications and fundraising.

They're also looking to determine the best path forward, including whether they should adopt a different model going forward.

"The executive as a whole needs to decide what the pantry committee will look like going forward," said Baker-Greaves. "Whether it exists as it does with a manager, whether it combines itself with another organization or service group, whether it moves to a self-sustainable model. Right now, we're just in really big discussions about what the future will look like."

She notes a lot notes of pantry programs are self-sustaining, like a lending library.

But the Free Little Pantry has gone beyond distributing dry and canned goods, committing to donate one meal a week this winter to the seasonal shelter.

Baker-Greaves said its been funded by a generous donation from a local business, and that many different eateries are taking part.

"We've reached out to local restaurants and asked 'This is our weekly budget, can you work within those parameters?' So, Blake Street Bakery, West Street Willy’s and Cork and Coast; there's been a handful of restaurants who have been able to work within that. Otherwise, we're purchasing freshly made food from Zehrs, or Jerry Raders or Dominos. Every week we're just trying to provide a different meal," she said.

Those that are looking to get involved can reach out to their email or find more info on their Facebook page.

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