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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Project HOPE makes Harrow Community Pantry a reality

by Adam Gault

A Windsor-Essex based non-profit organization is doing its part in tackling community food insecurity with the opening of the first community-based food pantry at the Harrow Arena.

  Representatives of Project HOPE Windsor-Essex cut the ribbon for the Harrow Community Pantry on Saturday, October 10, allowing 24/7 access to a variety of fresh foods, non-perishables, and toiletries for anyone in the community who may need a helping hand when it comes to acquiring some of life’s basic necessities.

  The Project HOPE organizers hope the construction of the 100-square foot structure will help in alleviating the perceived stigma some might have when accessing a traditional food bank, as the unmanned building will be operated on an honour system and can be accessed by anyone at any time.

  “Often when you need to use a food bank, your name needs to be written down somewhere, or you need to qualify to use it. You don’t have to make an appointment, you don’t have to give your name, you don’t have to give any information,” Project HOPE co-founder, Taylor Gorick, explained. “Hopefully, when people start to realize that this is for all, and not just for those in need, it will reduce some of the stigma, and they’ll feel more comfortable accessing it.”

  Beyond non-perishable canned goods, the pantry will also be stocked with toiletries, and fresh foods like eggs and milk, providing parents with a quick way to grab essentials, should a need arise late or after store hours.

  The Harrow Community Pantry is the result of the combined efforts of the husband and wife team of Gorick and Steve Pomerleau, who founded Project HOPE Windsor-Essex in late 2019. It started with the distribution of more than 100 care packages to Windsor residents who were homeless last winter.

  This year, Project HOPE wanted to tackle food insecurity issues head-on in the county, which led to them to seek the approval of Essex Council to construct their community pantry. It now sits outside the Harrow Arena’s main doors.

  With approval granted, construction happened quickly, taking place mostly over the course of the Saturday prior to the ribbon cutting. Representatives of Project HOPE noted the appropriateness of the pantry opening on Thanksgiving weekend.

  “I wasn’t surprised, because I know that Windsor-Essex is a very generous region, and people want to give and help others,” Gorick said. “It’s been absolutely wonderful.”

  Project HOPE will now turn its attention across Windsor-Essex to seek the approval of more community pantries, with the Town of Kingsville being in discussion with the group, as well as the possibility of other potential locations across the Town of Essex.

  Donations can be made in person to the pantry at 243 McAffee Street, as well as online at

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