CAMBRIDGE -- Last summer, Bee Caskenette and the Cambridge-based community group 'Family 2 Family' set out to help people in need by starting a community garden and library in her front yard.

She says that after initially receiving some push back from a neighbour and a request from the city to reorganize the space, they are now back in full swing,

“Since then we've expanded nine pantries now around Kitchener, Cambridge and even one in Brantford,” said Caskenette .

Over the course of the pandemic, her garden has also blossomed into a free community closet and pantry funded through community donations.

“They funded everything, we didn't have to spend any money from our own pocket,” said Caskenette, “This allows us to actually provide more food to the pantries.”

Donated items sit out for 72 hours before being sorted. Each location also has sanitizer and masks. 

According to Caskenette, they have seen an influx of donations with everything from clothing, to housewares items and food over the past few months.

They’ve even seen a number of people stepping forward from across Waterloo Region to host their own community closets to help those in need.

“We, started about two weeks ago," said Penny Ryan from Brantford.  “It started off a little bit slow with maybe one person coming at a time, and now we're about three people to four people a day."

Lesley Ditullio of Cambridge adds that “there's so many people out there willing to give their time and the money to help others in need."

According to Caskenette, the goal is to have a storefront to act as hub for 'Family 2 Family', so they can to continue supporting anyone who needs a helping hand.