After reading about people in the country who sometimes have to choose between health care or food, diapers or food, or basic necessities and food, Jessica McClard felt that she had to do something. And when the little community libraries began popping up in cities nearby, she knew that she had found the answer. Being too poor to afford toilet paper is the harsh reality for many people struggling to support their families, but these Little Free Pantries are helping out in the best way possible!
She had used the community libraries a few times and loved the feeling of being helped and helping out – even if it was just a good book. She created a pantry and put a micro-grant of $250 from Thrivent Financial to good use.
The box was set up in front of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And hasn’t stopped working since. Several times a day, the pantry is emptied and restocked by people in need and by people who have a little extra to give. The fastest moving items? Peanut butter, jelly, feminine hygiene products, and diapers.
Traditional food pantries operate as service providers, and everyone who uses them is considered a “client.” These little pop-up pantries eliminate the professional boundary and make it quick and easy to give or receive items. And in neighborhoods that don’t necessarily have to choose between diapers or food? Neighbors are stocking the pantries with sidewalk chalk, water guns, and snacks for the neighborhood kids to grab on their way home from school.