One Year Anniversary of The Atwater Pantry
“People showed up despite the cold, and there’s this mix of students and community members and people who give to the pantry, who take from the pantry, and none of that matters right now. Everyone is just here sharing a meal which is the exact idea,” said John Nathaniel Gertler, one of the founding students of the Atwater Community Pantry and a Dawson College graduate.
The Atwater Community Pantry, or ACP, was inaugurated on October 27th, 2021. It is an initiative in the sphere of mutual aid. Many volunteers keep it going by bringing food from different places to put in the pantry. Ultimately, this allows people to take things for free without having to sign up or face judgment.
Thursday, October 27th, 2022, was a celebration to commemorate the start of the ACP initiative. Rather than the newly implemented Thursday meetings at the pantry to discuss the community's needs and concerns, at 4 pm, community members came together two hours earlier than usual. There was soup and stew, provided by the People’s Potato, a nonprofit organization that makes vegan food from scratch to give to community members from Monday to Thursday. People from all around had food for the soul while coming together to honor the first anniversary of the very pantry that united them. People stopped by and gave their best wishes, i.e.; someone commented that those helping with the pantry, the mere here-and-there volunteers, are doing great work, and they wished these people to be blessed by god. It was heartwarming to witness, being a volunteer for the ACP myself.
“I’m just super filled with gratitude and like a feeling of fullness,” expressed Gertler.
“It’s a magical spot,” said a community member who admitted to being thankful for the existence of the Atwater Community Pantry, which is situated at 2111 Atwater Avenue.
It was inspirational to see the person who felt positive emotions about the pantry bringing homemade pasta to share with others. It amplified this idea of non-judgment and that of sometimes needing a little extra time; in some instances, you can do your bit for others. This community member wanted to give back, and with the timing of the first anniversary, there could not have been a more uplifting moment.
“We could just disappear, and it would still be there. I think that’s what I’m the happiest about,” emphasized Luka Vincelli, a new addition to the pantry team as well as a student studying environmental science, during an impromptu interview at the event, having previously mentioned being generally pleased about the good day they’ve been having.
Maybe now you’re inspired to do your bit for the Atwater Community Pantry or even to create your own mutual aid project. Do not feel pressured to fix the issue of a minimal amount of food redistribution which, unfortunately, is not implemented by our governments whether it be at a national or federal level.
Best explained by Mia Kennedy, now a Dawson College graduate and a fellow student founder of the ACP:
“This doesn’t solve the problem of food insecurity across Quebec. It acts as a band-aid to this major issue that can only really be solved through policy and law-making.”
The ACP is a great project and shows that our generation is seeing issues and acting on them to find solutions. As stated by Mia, “It takes more than a communal pantry to fix the issue at hand. There’s no harm in keeping it going; since community members benefit from it.”