A new food pantry in Saint John is open around the clock for anyone in need of a little extra.
Rev. Jasmine Chandra and her congregation established an outdoor food pantry at Stone Church on Carleton Street.
The idea was to create a space where food can be accessed any time of the day and not just during set hours.
"We see a number of people … who are underhoused or in need of food," Chandra told Information Morning Saint John. "And so we try to help where we can, but that is limited … to our hours and when we're open."
The pantry is in partnership with the Waterloo Village Neighbourhood Association. It was built by the Tool Library with funding from the Horizon Health Network.
The wooden cabinet has two swinging doors with glass windows. There is a small overhang to protect items from the elements and a latch to keep the doors shut.
Variety of goods
Chandra said a variety of goods can be found stored on the shelves inside.
"It sort of depends on what's been dropped off," she said. "Right now we have some soup, we have some apples, chips and granola bars. We had about 13 protein shakes but I noticed by the end of the day yesterday, they were all gone."
The congregation has committed to keeping the pantry stocked, but Chandra said anyone in the community can contribute.
She said anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated can be donated.
There is also a specific demand for food that is ready to eat.
Chandra acknowledges the potential for vandalism, but said it's worth the risk.
"You can't not do things just because something might happen," she said. "I mean, it's always a risk when you do something like this."
PULSE is a grassroots organization in the city's lower south end that also has a food pantry. It's located inside the group's Wentworth Street facility and is open throughout the week during business hours.
The PULSE pantry has a small fridge and is stocked daily with donated items.
PULSE's Lisa Morris said she's excited about Stone Church's pantry.
"They're a great way to reduce food waste. Instead of throwing food out … people can stock it in the pantry and see it go to a good home," she said.