A Saskatoon woman is taking matters into her owns hands when it comes to tackling the way people view homelessness in the city.
Kirby Criddle has started to build free food boxes to make it easier for people in need to access food and toiletries.
“I noticed a lot of people in the back alley looking in the recycling bins,” said Criddle. “I also noticed people in the community who were uncomfortable with this.”
That’s when Criddle knew it was time for change.
Kirby Criddle, Connor Powell and Frank Collins spent Monday building three free food boxes to be placed in different areas around the city. (Kirby Criddle/Submitted to CBC)
Criddle has lived in the Buena Vista neighbourhood in Saskatoon for years, but it wasn’t until she moved into her current location that she noticed people going through recycling bins. On a number of occasions Criddle said she would approach people scouring through the bins only to be met by fear.
“The man was so scared when I said hello. I think he expected me to yell at him, and then once we got talking we had a nice conversation.”
Criddle then started putting out her own recycling bins, making it more accessible for people to grab the bottles. Then just last week, Criddle came across the idea of food boxes on Facebook. She immediately put a plan in place to start building some of her own.
“I’m so lucky this took off the way it did,” she said. “Frank Collins and Connor Powell came over on Monday and we got to work.”
So far, the three of them have built three boxes and more are planned.
How it works
Criddle said it’s simple, she’ll put everything from baking to non-perishable food items and any toiletries she isn’t using in these boxes with the hope someone who needs it grabs something.
“I feel like it capitalizes on the idea of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbour kind of thing,” said Criddle. “Except in this case I think this allows everyone to be your neighbour. Which allows us to strengthen our community. Which allows more people to feel like they belong.”
Free food boxes are going up in different communities around Saskatoon to help people in need. (Kirby Criddle/Submitted to CBC)
When asked about how Criddle responds to people who say they wouldn’t want to attract homelessness in their communities because of the free items in the box, she said people need to start thinking and understanding what others go through on a daily basis.
“I think we have to acknowledge the fact we could be them. In an instant we can become the people that other people don’t want in their yards. The fact that we have what we have is so fleeting.”
Criddle has already received requests for the food boxes from businesses and residents in Saskatoon and is now asking for people to donate supplies to make more. She is putting the first food box up behind her home in Buena Vista. The box will have items in it this week.