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Town renames Community Fridge project to honour 'generous spirit' of Troy Scott

'He inspired people. He was always there with a smile. You can’t go to any point in Innisfil, and not be aware of his impact,' councillor says of Troy Scott

The Town of Innisfil lost a 'community builder' in June of this year, when Troy Scott tragically succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 48.

Scott, the owner of the Stroud Foodland store, was a tireless supporter of the Innisfil Food Bank, Rotary Club of Innisfil, and the town’s Pitch-In Committee. He quietly contributed to numerous other causes, providing assistance wherever needed.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, Innisfil Council found a way “to recognize Mr. Scott’s generosity and continue his legacy of neighbours helping neighbours.”

Councillors voted unanimously to rename an expanded Community Fridge program ‘The Troy Scott Community Fridge Project.’

Innisfil’s Community Fridge was launched in June of 2021 to address growing food insecurity in the community, as a result of economic and other impacts of the pandemic.

A fridge, borrowed from the Lefroy Community Centre’s banquet hall, was placed at the Innisfil Recreation Complex. Kept filled by community donations, the idea was to provide nutritious and fresh food options that would be available 24/7, at no charge, for those facing food insecurity as a result of loss of employment, school closures that halted breakfast and snack programs, and other shutdowns.

It was initially a pilot project set to end in October, but community response was so great – with at least 1,300 items donated and redistributed - that staff recommended not only continuing but expanding the project. They also recommended the renaming as a way to honour Scott's contributions to the community.

Scott’s family members and friends attended the meeting, via Zoom, and were welcomed by Mayor Lynn Dollin.

“As a community we relied on and were touched by Troy’s generous spirit,” Mayor Dollin said. “We need to recognize him appropriately” for his continuous outreach to his neighbours and community.

Coun. Ken Fowler, chair of the Pitch-In Working Committee, called Scott “a man of the people… He inspired people. He was always there with a smile. You can’t go to any point in Innisfil, and not be aware of his impact.”

Fowler unveiled a plaque that will be placed at Innisfil Town Hall commemorating Troy Scott’s commitment to volunteerism.

“Thank you for sharing him with Innisfil,” the councillor said.

The mayor also thanked the Scott family for allowing the town to share the presentation online “with the community that valued Troy so much.”

Later in the meeting, councillors voted formally to expand the Community Fridge program, in two phases, and rename it the Troy Scott Community Fridge Project.

In Phase 1, the old fridge now in use will be returned to the Lefroy banquet hall, and a new fridge and permanent structure will be put in place at the Innisfil Recreation, in the current location.

At a future date, it may be moved to the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre, to be closer to the Horodynsky Community Kitchen.

Two additional fridges will be purchased and installed at the Lakeshore ideaLAB & Library in Alcona, and at the Cookstown ideaLAB and Community Centre.

A review of the pilot project found that while users appreciated the “autonomy, anonymity and dignity” of being able to access nutritious food at any time, and make their own food choices, the current location at the Recreation Complex was “not as convenient for residents as intended.”

Users indicated the libraries, which already provide other services to residents, were a better location for those who either walked or used Uber Transit, the staff report noted.

Phase 2 would add additional fridges to other locations in 2022, to be determined by public consultation. Possible locations could include Lefroy and Sandycove, staff suggested.

Overall cost of both phases was estimated at $25,000, to come from Capital Project Council Strategic Initiatives. An additional $1,875, left in the Helping Hands fund established to help families during the pandemic, would be used to purchase food and augment donations from the community.

Dollin praised the proposed expansion, but questioned the list of possible locations for the fridges.

“I can just hear Troy saying, what about Stroud?” she said.