Coaldale’s Little Free Pantry

By Garrett Simmons
FCSS Communications

How many times have you just needed a quick snack to get you through your afternoon?

Maybe you forgot to pick up that one last ingredient for supper, or you just need a little help in between paycheques.

Whatever the reason, Coaldale’s Little Free Pantry is there to help locals receive a little extra support.

The pantry, located right outside the Family and Community Support Services building at 2107-13 St., opened last September. The pantry was created by the Youth DO crew, supported by the Town of Coaldale, and funded by the Coaldale Community Wellness Association.

“The youth thought that while there is a food bank here, and it is well utilized, there was a need for something else for people that maybe just needed something small, or just a little one-off for support,” said Jillian Boyd, Youth Development Co-ordinator for FCSS. “The pantry is supposed to supplement – not replace – the supports and resources that are already available in the community, like the Coaldale Food Bank. It’s also a way for community to help community; neighbors helping neighbors.”

DO Crew members stepped up in a big way to get the project off the ground, she added.

“They have a lot of ownership and pride in this project,” said Boyd. “We have really watched them grow as young leaders throughout the process.”

Coaldale residents have been supportive of the pantry, as donations have been steady.

“It’s pretty self-sustainable,” said Boyd, who added the pantry is often full of items ready to be utilized by the community. “The support has been great, and word of mouth has caught on pretty well.”

The pantry is easy to access, and those driving or walking by the structure can quickly determine if there are items available, or it needs to be restocked.

“We are always looking for more donations,” said Kaitlynn Weaver, Outreach Services Supervisor for FCSS. “Especially come fall, when kids are going back to school, that’s when we tend to see a little bit more food insecurity.”

Non-perishable items, particularly canned goods, pasta or items like Kraft Dinner or instant noodles, are always helpful, she added. Personal hygiene items are also greatly appreciated, Weaver added, as those items tend to go quickly when the pantry is stocked with them.

“The pantry is also just something the community can really get behind and also see how our youth are doing positive things in our community.”

Weaver added those utilizing the Little Free Pantry are also encouraged to stop in the FCSS office, to find out if there are other services they can utilize.

Currently, Coaldale and Nobleford both have FCSS Little Free Pantry structures in their communities, but more may be on the way in other communities the organization serves.

Those seeking to support the FCSS pantries are encouraged to look through their own kitchens to find items that could be donated.

For more details on the Little Free Pantry, please contact Jillian Boyd FCSS at To reach out to the Coaldale Food Bank, call 403-345-2720 or visit the food bank at 1022-12 Ave.