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Little Free Pantries

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Life + Learning

  • food in barrels

Carroll, Queen's Square | December 1, 2017

No doubt you have heard of The Little Free Library movement, and have maybe even encountered one as you walk around town – there are quite a few in close proximity to each Idea Exchange location.  Well, the newest concept in the movement of people helping people is called the Little Free Pantry.  I first discovered this grassroots program while I was spending some quality time on Facebook. I was immediately intrigued by the notion of neighbours coming together to address food insecurity in their neighbourhoods.

Founded in Arkansas in May 2016, by Jessica McClard, the idea of the Little Free Pantry is simple: build a pantry, place it in your neighbourhood, fill it with items and then spread the word. People can come and take items, or they can leave items to restock the pantry. Things in the Little Free Pantry can include anything from non-perishable food and drink, to sanitary products, diapers, light bulbs and school supplies. At the end of the school year, McClard even tied balloons to the pantry and filled it full of bubbles, games, craft materials and other fun things that kids would enjoy, but that might not easily fit into a family budget that was already stretched.

What appealed so much to me was that the Little Free Pantry really encourages neighbours to help each other in a very compelling way; no matter your socioeconomic status, the pantries become a neighbourhood meeting point. It helps to address the desire many people have to give back to their communities and allows them to do it in a tangible and practical way. 

If you are interested in establishing a Little Free Pantry in your neighbourhood, visit their website more information on how to get started!