A little outdoor food bank comes to Ayer’s Cliff: “Take what you need and leave what you don’t”

By Gordon Lambie
A little outdoor food bank comes to Ayer’s Cliff: “Take what you need and  leave what you don’t”
(Photo : Sue Young)

Leaning in on the idea that we get by with a little help from our friends, a little outdoor food bank has popped up on the steps of Beulah United Church in Ayer’s Cliff. The project was set up by Dean and Sue Young, although Dean said that it has quickly been adopted by the community.
“What we did was set up a sign that says take what you need and leave what you don’t, and people have been dropping off food,” he said, explaining that food has already come and gone consistently in the few days since the space was set up.
Young credited his wife with the idea.
“We usually work on Christmas baskets here and we still have lots of extra stuff come in after we deliver them, so last year Sue did Easter baskets,” he explained. “This year we really can’t do that because, well, we just can’t, so she thought of an outdoor food bank using the leftover donations from the Ayers Cliff Community Christmas basket.”
The inspiration for the idea, which came at 3 a.m. according to Young, was a twist on a plan the Beulah Sunday School already had for creating a little library outside the church. Using small refrigerators and a glass-fronted cabinet, the pair set up a space where canned goods but also items like milk, fruit and vegetables, and bread can be left for the good of others.
“People in isolation can’t go to the stores, but an outdoor food bank is the ideal thing for them,” he said.
Although the give-and-take system of the current arrangement now has its own momentum, Young credited the generosity of local Marché Tradition owner Guy Patry for the excess of donations that made the project feasible in the first place.
“He goes crazy at Christmas time,” Young said, sharing that the donations are drawn from bags of donated goods that can be bought for $10 during the holiday season and sometimes for $5 during special sales. “We get all kinds of food left over.”

Published in the Tuesday, March 24 edition of The Record.

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