Volunteers Are Turning Their Little Free Libraries Into Pantries

These little free pantries and being stocked with food and toilet paper to help neighbors.

Apr 2, 2020
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A new community spirit has taken hold as more and more places are requiring people to stay home. Even though it is no longer possible to see your neighbors in real time, people still want to help each other. That’s why many folks are turning their Little Free Libraries into little free pantries.

Many people cannot go to supermarkets and the ones that do frequently find many of the shelves bare. That’s why good Samaritans across America are stocking their free libraries with canned food, rice, pasta, peanut butter, toilet paper, and even things like hand sanitizers for their neighbors in need according to MSN.

There are even notes that say “Take what you need, share what you can,” like the ones on the Little Free Libraries that say, “Take a book, leave a book.”  

The libraries are extremely popular and less than a decade after the first Little Free Library was set up in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin, it turned into a global movement with over 70,000 sites according to the organization’s website.

After being inspired by the libraries, in 2016 Jessica McClard started the Little Free Pantry movement near her home in Arkansas according to CNN. She believed that since Arkansas is a food insecure state and that the idea of free pantries would catch on. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the pantries are more important than ever.

"This concept is made for this moment because we can maintain social distancing and also, there are a lot of people hurting right now," McClard told CNN. She even removed the door of her pantry so people would not have to touch it.

Greig Mertzer, the executive director of the Little Free Library organization agrees that turning the libraries into panties is the right way to go and that they can serve as collection points for larger food donations to nearby charities. He wrote in a blog, “perhaps use your Little Free Library to host a food drive to help a local food shelf.”

If you don’t have access to one of the small libraries or pantries, don’t worry. You can still do your part. You can become a virtual volunteer for many good causes. You can help your elderly or at-risk neighbors by going grocery shopping or picking up medication for them. There are many ways to keep social distancing and still be part of the community.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.
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