Calgary

Sunnyside 'community cupboard' pops up mysteriously with mission to warm strangers

An "altruistic" armoire has popped up in the northwest community of Sunnyside filled with winter weather gear and other supplies to help Calgarians in need during the chilly winter months.

Cupboard filled with winter gear for people to give and take as needed

An "altruistic" armoire has popped up in the northwest community of Sunnyside filled with winter weather gear and other supplies to help Calgarians in need. 0:33

An "altruistic" armoire has popped up in the northwest community of Sunnyside filled with winter weather gear and other supplies to help Calgarians in need during the chilly winter months.

It's a mystery as to exactly when the community cupboard was placed in the container park at Ninth Street and Second Avenue N.W., but word is quickly getting around.

The cupboard is stocked with everything from warm clothes and jackets, to boots and hats and mittens. Shelves inside the cupboard are also filled with essentials like women's sanitary pads, toothbrushes, pens and pencils and cough drops.

The cupboard operates the "take what you need, leave what you can" philosophy that is used at free pantries and little community libraries that have popped up in recent years. 

Zoey Graf, a teacher at Calgary Girls' School, dropped by Wednesday after seeing the cupboard on Twitter, to leave extra warm socks from her school's sock drive and other extras she had lying around her house.

"It's been so cold outside that if you needed a hat or needed some warm socks or some mitts, it was a nice way to get it right into the hands of people who might need those things," Graf said.

Initiatives like free pantries and community cupboards depend on the generosity of Calgarians to be successful. Devin Kwok, who noticed the cupboard for the first time this week, said he found the idea behind it "very utopian."

"It kind of reflects something I've seen around Calgary, which is maybe a feeling that we should form more of a community and a stronger sense of pride of being in this neighbourhood," he said.

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