Six weeks after opening, the shelves at the Dwight Winter Pantry are fully stocked and the organization has received thousands of dollars in donations for those in need in the community.
Last fall, the group put out a call for non-perishable food items and cash donations so that it could provide support for people struggling to make ends meet in Hillside, Oxtongue Lake, Dwight and Dorset. The pantry is open twice per month—on the first and third Wednesday from 2-7 p.m.—at the Dwight Community Centre for anyone to drop by and pick up what they need. In addition to the canned and boxed goods, there are also fresh items like eggs and milk available. It’s all free of charge and completely confidential. No one is turned away.
“We have lots of backing from the community, lots of support,” says Eva Kerzel of Marie Poirier Planning and Associates. Local residents have been regularly dropping off donations at their office, as well as at Dwight Public Library, the Dwight Garden Centre, and Erika’s Coffee Shop. Students at Irwin Memorial Public School have also run food drives to gather donations and have helped the pantry sort the food.
The Dwight Winter Pantry, which is completely run by volunteers, will be open until April. Anyone with questions about the program or who needs to access help can also call 705-635-9860.
The pantry has had strong support from the local business community. Dwight Lumber provided the supplies for the pantry shelves, which were built by Daniel VanGelder and stained by Aubrey Cotton. Withey Insurance has provided insurance. Michelle Percival, Cathy Fairburn,Tom Gerfucia and the Township of Lake of Bays have provided the space and coordinated financial donations. And Reeder Web Design built the pantry’s website, Karen Piovaty of Oxtongue Craft Cabin designed the logo and provided communications materials and promotions, staff at Marie Poirier Planning and Associates organized the pantry and provided promotions and communications, Erika’s Bakery sponsored the pantry’s launch and provided communications, and Muskoka Hydrovac, Marie Poirier Planning and Associates, and Dwight Garden Centre provided seed contributions.
For more information, visit dwightwinterpantry.com.
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