It's officially been one week since the opening of Cochrane's very own free food shed.
Located in the parking lot of St. Andrew's United Church, the shed features shelves, pantry space, a fridge and a freezer for Cochranites to 'take what you want and give what you can.'
Helping Hands Executive Director, Chairra Nicolle says that the first week of operation has been a success.
"The community has been amazing as far as donations go," says Nicolle. "There have been so many people dropping off different items whether its produce or dry storage or even freezer items."
Cochranites seem to have the 'give what you can' part down, but as far as the 'take what you want' ... well, Nicolle says that hasn't been happening as much.
"We're finding that people are having more difficulty taking than donating," says Nicolle. "We want to make sure that everybody understands that it's also there to take and there's no judgement on what need is. If you see something you've always wanted to try that's been donated, feel free to grab that, take it home and try it for your family."
Nicolle says that the free food shed is intended to work as an exchange program. While the generous donations will go a long way to ensure that no one is left hungry, the aim is to also reduce waste.
As far as the rules in place for food donation items, Nicolle says that most Cochranites have been respectful of them.
"We've had a couple of donations that have been more of a drop-off of dumping," says Nicolle. "We're not for garbage or anything you're just discarding from your house. We want it to be kept clean and appropriate items."
Helping Hands is asking that all food and toiletry donations are unopened and that produce is still fresh. If you're unsure whether or not to donate an item, Nicolle says you can refer to the signs in place.
The free food shed is located at 128 1st Street East, and it's open for residents to access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.