Nova Scotia

Community rallies to add food resources in Eastern Passage

School worker Samantha Galvin knew she had to do something when she noticed that more and more elementary school students in her area were coming to school without lunches.

The community outreach worker and others in Eastern Passage, N.S., came together in early 2023 to form the Eastern Passage Food Security Society.

The group opened a free pantry at the local fire hall in February. It opened one day per week.

On Saturday, the society formally opened a free standalone pantry on the edge of the fire hall property within a short walk of public transit. But it will be available 24/7.

Dozens of community members attended the ceremony.

The new community pantry had a grand opening on Saturday in Eastern Passage. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

“Eastern Passage is a really unique location … it’s beautiful, but it’s also really isolated and there’s not a lot of access to affordable food here,” Galvin said.

“We’re gonna operate on the motto, ‘Take what you need, leave what you can.’ So it’ll be accessible 24/7 and it’ll be in a dignified manner for people to come and take what they need or donate what they can.”

Galvin said the society was able to set up the new pantry thanks to the help of the community and many volunteers.

She said members of the community have already donated over 4,000 items of food to the pantry. She said there have also been monetary donations.

The building for the pantry was donated by a Dartmouth company.

According to Galvin, the pantry will be up and running by next week after a donated fridge is installed and finishing touches are completed.

Galvin said the volunteer fire department has provided financial support to the project over and above providing space for the first pantry. The pantry space in the fire hall will close. 

A man in a blue t-shirt stands in front of a fire hall.
Patrick Sangster volunteers with the fire department and is also on the board of the society. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Patrick Sangster, a volunteer with the fire department, is also one of the society’s board members.

Sangster said having the pantry at the fire hall has allowed firefighters to interact with the community and to learn how grateful people are to have access to the pantry.

For her part, Galvin said she is honoured to be in a community where people help each other.

“This was all just a simple idea that one person had and it was really the community that brought it to fruition,” she said. “Anything is possible with the support of a community.”

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