By CODY MCEACHERN
Jan. 22, 2016
Christy Morgan scanned over the food in her fridge one evening and noticed it was full of untouched food going to waste.
She opened her cupboards, and to her surprise she found more food no one was eating.
Although she thinks of herself being quite frugal when grocery shopping, she always ended up with a few food items going untouched.
“I wonder what could be done with that?” she thought while looking at the wasted food.
Morgan created a Facebook page, P.E.I. Food Share, and offered her extra food as a free donation to families who can’t afford much or are in a tight spot this month.
She thought the page would get a couple of posts from people, but didn’t expect too much.
Quickly, the page gained attention, and soon people were posting all sorts of food they didn’t need, offering to donate it to others in need. She began getting messages from families struggling to keep food in their cupboards, and in need of help.
Not long after, Morgan had visited the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, a local monk monastery, and spoke with them about what she had created.
They found the idea fascinating and donated corn and rolls to be distributed to those in need, said Morgan.
“The monks liked how easily I could spread that food through P.E.I. food share, through the Facebook page. They didn’t use Facebook, or Internet, so they didn’t know about this.”
From that point, the page became bigger and bigger, filling with more posts of free food, and messages from families looking for help, Morgan said.
“It started getting bigger, and I realized I’d need some help. So I started taking on local representatives around the province.”
She now has 26 representatives across the Island who receive donations and distribute it to people who contact them for help, and is continually looking for more.
The page now has over 1,500 members online and a few hundred not on Facebook but know of the group both donating and looking for help. The group has become much bigger than expected, said Morgan.
“I always thought at the beginning that it would be a page that would run itself, you know. Somebody says, ‘Here, I’ve got something,’ and somebody else says, ‘Oh, I’ll take that.’ It has become a very, very, very hands-on, massive thing.”
Morgan spends her days running the group, approving new members, making sure that donations are getting to where they need to go, and spreading word of the group to locals and raising awareness of the issue at hand.
Recently, Morgan has secured a small section of garden at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown to grow fresh produce to donate to struggling families this year.
She is also looking to collaborate with local business to start free cooking and gardening classes run by volunteers for struggling people and families to help teach them how to grow their own produce and make cheap, filling meals to save money.
The group provides a nice alternative from the food bank or local soup kitchens, which offers little anonymity to those who use their services.
P.E.I. Food Share offers full anonymity if requested, and all donations are delivered by a representative of the group. For some people, that is a big positive.
Corey M., who wishes not to disclose her full name, has received a few donations from the group, and praises the group and Christy for their kindness and generosity.
In December of last year, Corey was present with an issue all too familiar with Islanders. She could pay her rent and have a roof over her head, or she could buy groceries, and be able to eat for the month.
Embarrassed to visit the food bank, and too proud to ask her parents for money, she desperately searched through different friends and groups on Facebook, hoping she would find someone getting rid of some food.
That’s when she found the P.E.I. Food Share page. She contacted Morgan, and explained her situation, said Corey.
“I work part-time at Wal-Mart, make minimum wage, and I’m putting myself through school, so I never have money. So I contacted the group creator, Christy, and explained that I don’t usually ask for help, but I really needed help this month. She got back to me in no time, and set me up with some food. I was surprised.”
She got a bag full of bread, some homemade pasta and pastries, rolls and potatoes. She broke into tears when she received it, unable to believe how lucky she was, said Corey.
“I couldn’t believe these people I don’t even know, would come to my house, and just give me food. I was and still am so grateful.”
That wasn’t the end of it though. Christy had contacted her again later in the week, and told her she had gotten a full Christmas dinner she wanted to donate to her. Corey received a box full of food, including turkey, potatoes, carrots, and even stuffing.
“It made my Christmas. I couldn’t thank her enough for it.”
She is going to donate some food to the group once she gets on her feet again, and has been telling everyone she knows about the group to try and get more donations for them, said Corey.
“I just think that the world needs more people like them, ya know? Like, what they are doing is just so kind, and they expect nothing more than to pay it forward.”
The group is growing every day, and Christy just got in contact with UPEI to help donate food to students in need there, and plans on working on the same with Holland College.