Project Robin Hood in Kingston helping re-distribute hoarded items amid coronavirus pandemic

It’s called Project Robin Hood and a church in Kingston is the second in the country to take up the cause.

Starting Wednesday, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on Victoria Street will become a “drop and go donation point” for many goods in short supply because of hoarding due to concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic — things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as well as non-perishable food items.

“We’re a church; we believe in sharing, community,” said pastor Seth Perry.

“So this is a message to the people out there in the community that may have hoarded maybe a few extra packages of toilet paper: you can bring them to us to donate, to re-distribute to those people who won’t be leaving their house, who are maybe not financially able to go out and do shopping.”

Over the last week, Canadian grocery stores have seen an unprecedented amount of panic buying, with hoards of customers stripping the shelves bare of food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

A new survey conducted between March 13 and 15 by Dalhousie University and Angus Reid found 71 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, and that 41 per cent had purchased extra groceries and supplies as a result.

Perry says people wishing to contribute to Project Robin Hood can donate the items at the church from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week for the foreseeable future.

Perry says the idea wasn’t his, he’s just borrowing it. He credits Mark Kleiner, a pastor at Christ Church Anglican in Saskatoon.

“We’re talking about our most vulnerable residents of our community,” Kleiner told the CBC of those who the initiative aimed to help. “We’re giving people an opportunity to be generous and to kind of listen to our better angels through all this.”

—With files from Hannah Jackson

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