A well-known red cupboard outside Steveston's Best of British shop is running low and a Richmond resident is calling on the local community for help.
Resident Deborah Lawrence took to a local Facebook group this week to encourage people to drop off nonperishable food items or toiletries at the Steveston Community Cupboard. The cupboard is outside Best of British, a shop at the corner of First Avenue and Chatham Street.
"It's very difficult to keep meals on the table around this time," said Lawrence, who often donates items to the cupboard.
"Sometimes it's a matter of whether or not (people) pay a light bill or they have something for the kids to eat for dinner. That cupboard really helps out."
The cupboard follows a "take what you need, leave what you can" motto and was the brainchild of a McMath secondary Incentive Program student in 2020.
Most of the time, the cupboard is emptied soon after it gets refilled.
Co-owner of Best of British, Lenny Entwistle, is one of the good Samaritans who looks after the cupboard and ensures the cupboard has "a great assortment of items" in it, according to Lawrence.
"The ladies at the British shop make sure not too many of the same items are in the cupboard at one time to eliminate hoarding," she said.
"People have been putting in more ... baby food and stuff which is really helpful for families."
While the cupboard started off as a shelf for nonperishable food items, a new extension to the mini food bank has included space for toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, perfume, nail polish and mittens.
Lawrence told the Richmond News there are still many families in the area who are unaware of the red cupboard.
"A lot of people don't know what the cupboard is. They walk by and they don't look at it because they don't want to snoop," she said.
"There are so many people in Steveston that are low-income and people don't realize that. We want to change that and make sure people are aware of it so those who can help can donate and those who need something immediately can take it."
-with files from Alan Campbell