I came across this posting on facebook of Kirby Criddle of Saskatoon making some food boxes along side two kind gents Frank and Connor. I immediately felt the need to help spread the word of this. Without even thinking and checking my insanely busy life calendar. I messaged her and asked when I could pop over to grab a few shots. Originally I thought this to be a good post for Our Collective Muse... which I'll likely post there too, but this was more of a feel good for me personally. With a few things on the brain these days both work and personally I needed to just set out and be one with the community. This was the perfect outlet for that.
I headed over as they shared a meal, conversation and lots of laughs. It was lovely. not to mention Renae's amazing pie.. oh . my . gawd! sorry mom, but it was amazing. The kids played with Molly and I'm not sure who was having more fun.
On to the boxes. Frank, Connor and Kirby all came up with the design and process collectively and it sort of all just came together. I collected some notes from them on their view of this and it was so nice to read each outlook on this process. adore.
These boxes are located outside of One Yoga just off of broadway and In the alley between Lorne and McPherson and between 1st and 2nd st e.
A NOTE FROM CONNOR:
So I initially saw the idea on Facebook and thought it looked like a pretty easy thing to do. Not even half an hour later, Kirby shares the same post and said she was interested in doing them. Frank and I chimed in saying we would be pumped to help. As I had just returned home from a trip and was unemployed I had time to kill. I also have all the tools and more necessary to build these boxes pretty easily. Between the three of us we came to the date's of the 5th and the 7th. Kirby rallied us on the 5th, and we gathered at my house. Frank Supplied the cedar planks and deck screws, Kirby supplied the hinges and handles along with snacks and hot coco, someone donated the cabinet doors and lastly I supplied the tools and a bit of know how. We put them together as a good little team. From there on out, it game down to Frank and Kirby making the Facebook page and attracting media attention as well as getting the fine details down between us three and actually finishing them.
Food is something that has always been very important to me. Despite growing up in relative poverty , food was always paramount in our lives. My parents always made sure my sister and I ate well and healthily while instilling that that very thing was a privilege. In recent years I have felt a certain helplessness with homelessness as well as a moral dilemma. 25 cents here, a dollar there, does that small contribution to a homeless person make a difference or am I adding to the problem? With these food boxes I hope to tackle one small part of the problem, having good food to eat, and I think more importantly, share. This project shows that people care and also demonstrates generosity to the estranged and lost. While nay-sayers will say we're attracting homelessness and not battling it, I think that this is the start of a conversation surrounding homelessness. If we do it right, we can instill the importance of organized, compassionate action, as a unit, a community, as people who are reaching out to those of us who need a little help, or a lot of help.
For me, this is just the beginning. Through this experience I have been shown how easy it is; not necessarily to DO something, but to START something.
A NOTE FROM FRANK:
Wow, this is hard to write… I honestly hadn’t really thought about why. Kirby shared an article/video a week or so ago talking about free food boxes, and she excitedly asked if anyone had the materials to make one and would be willing to help… I thought it to be an amazing idea, and immediately dug thru my garage to see if I had what would be needed, and being the type to not waste left over building supplies, I sure did. Aside from the cabinet doors, I had everything that would be needed. Connor joined in offering up his carpentry know how, and suddenly we were at it. Holiday Monday we gathered together and set about building our food boxes, without any more incentive than doing something beneficial for the community and those in need, and getting to know new friends. I came into this wanting to spend some spare time doing something good, and maybe recycle some leftover materials in the process — and ended up making some amazing new friends
A NOTE FROM KIRBY:
I grew up hungry. What I mean by that is that my family didn't have a lot of money, and every single piece of food in our house was accounted for. We couldn't have snacks, we just had the meals we had. My parents served bologna sandwiches for lunch for years, on special occasions we would have ichiban noodles. I didn't want to eat bologna, so my parents let me have peanut butter sandwiches. I remember one time sneaking a banana after supper because I was so hungry, and getting in trouble because it meant I would not have a banana for my breakfast the next day. I had two shirts and two pairs of pants, and was teased relentlessly for wearing the same clothes all the time, and being "too skinny" in a small town full of bigger boned farm kids.
I have a sister who is homeless, though she would probably tell you that she can make her home anywhere and everywhere. And I believe that. She has lived in a variety of places and spaces since she left home at 16 and quit school. When I visited her in Vancouver a few years ago, and she told me more about life living under a bridge and busking on Commercial Drive for food money, and also all the programs available for homeless and struggling folks, it got me thinking about how we do things in Saskatoon. This has stayed on my mind for the last few years, but I wasn't really sure how I could help, feeling like everything was bigger than me. I began to take my kids to volunteer at the Food Bank, trying to help out in whatever capacity I could, and learn more about what's offered in our city.
Every time I see a person asking for money, I think of my sister. Every time I think of my sister, I think of myself. We came from the same home and parents, yet our lives are so different. She is my sister and I want to take care of her, if she needs my support. But wait - isn't everyone my brother or sister? Beyond that, isn't everyone a reflection of myself? It is not an accident that I have been given this privileged life. And even if it was, how meaningless and wasted if not shared with others.
Something that is interesting to me is how wolves care for one another. When traveling with sick or elderly wolves, no one is left behind. The pack surrounds the sick and elderly, moving at a pace suitable for everyone to keep up, keeping the sick/injured/elderly at the center, protected from predators, keeping a close eye for any harm that might befall one of them. What has happened to us, that we have forgotten each other? We turn a blind eye to those of us that don't even get their basic needs met in a day. It is not our "problem" -- except it is a problem, and we are the only ones who can fix it. It takes a community to create a community. And at the end of the day, we all crave belonging and safety. To feel loved, and like we matter. Like we are seen, and significant.
So enter the Free Food Box idea. It is only a small thing, a small way to help. But it is a good way! And it's been so beautiful to see so much of the community contribute their efforts to make this sustainable. And these small efforts, all bound together over time, create huge, lasting change. Let's all take good care of each other. Think of how our world might change for the better if we did that. May all beings have happiness and the means to happiness. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
A NOTE FROM JOC:
I knew there was a reason that I messaged Kirby that day. It was simply meant to be. Not only was I wanting to get more exposure to this awesome project of theirs but in my slough of chaos I needed a bit of grounding. Kirby: You've opened me up to possibilities, going ahead with a few projects that I've always thought of but just haven't pursued yet. Meeting you, your kiddos , frank and his. Connor and Molly. It was a beautiful thing for me. My wheels have been turning since on how I can create more good then I already do. There's always more to give.
sometimes meeting new friends creates new magic. new acts. beautiful things. that is what these people did. created good. so lovely to have met you all. cheers