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Steveston shop plans ‘pay it forward’ pilot project

Richmondites can now pay for someone's future hot meal by donating money at the Best of British.
Produce donation
Richmondites can pay for someone's future hot meal at Steveston's Best of British shop.

A co-owner of Steveston's Best of British shop is starting a pilot project to help feed hungry Richmond residents this winter.

Lenny Entwistle is hoping to do more for people who have trouble putting food on the table by starting a "pay it forward" program at her shop.

Entwistle told the Richmond News the Steveston Community Cupboard, which has a “take what you need, leave what you can” motto, has helped many people in the past couple of years who couldn't afford certain food items or hygiene products. The community cupboard is located outside her shop on Chatham Street and First Avenue.

However, there have been a "couple of cases" in the past weeks where people have been "hoarding" and taking certain items from the red cupboard.

"We noticed ... someone that's collecting (bags of coffee) and sending them to the Philippines, said Entwistle.

"We want to make sure the public's donations are helping those in our local neighbourhoods first."

She added that this has caused hesitation from the public on whether they should continue to donate to the community cupboard.

"I can understand where the hesitation is coming, but we can't just stop using the cupboard because there is a need and people are relying on it throughout the year."

To combat this problem, Entwistle began a "pay it forward" project where the public can make a monetary donation to pay for someone's future hot meal.

People can make a donation, or add to their bill, at the Best of British shop, which will pay for a sausage roll for someone who cannot afford it.

"Everybody deserves a full belly this holiday season," she said.

So far, the shop has put aside 20 sausage rolls to get the project started.

Donations that are unclaimed by the end of December will be donated to the local food bank as a cash donation, according to Entwistle.

While this initiative is just starting, she told the News that there are several other local businesses and restaurants in Steveston Village that have shown interest in the project.

"Hopefully this can grow, but for now we will start small."

The public is still encouraged to donate items to the red community cupboard.