“Two pastas, three beans, two tuna fish, and 6 energy bars. OK Mom, that’s the stock in the pantry.” These are the words of my son as he takes inventory of our Little Free Pantry which we built some seven years ago. It sits in Columbia City, on a city park which hosts a ton of foot traffic.. It looks like a Little Free Library, but it’s stocked with non-perishable foods and hygiene products. This little structure has brought the topic of food insecurity to our neighborhood and has become an exchange for those who need to receive and those who are fortunate to give. Not only do we fill our Pantry, neighbors fill it - some we’ve met, others we have not. It’s become a small contribution to reducing food insecurity in our neighborhood and a crossroads for neighbors to meet.
I’d like to grow a small movement around this concept of a Little Free Pantry. I hope to build 10, 15, even 20 more pantry’s and spread them throughout SE Seattle and into the Central District. Food insecurity hides. It’s a neighbor, who while has a full time job, might have to miss a few meals to stretch the months income. I have no big dreams that Little Free Pantries will fix hunger, but what I know is it helps my neighbors who may be too proud to ask for help or might only need a little support from time-to-time. It’s not my place to judge or even know who is making use of the Pantry, but I do feel it is my responsibility to care for my neighbor, however I might be able and this is one small way.
Our Pantry gets used, and often. As a family, we have made space in our food budget to buy regular staples and hygiene products for our Pantry. Our neighbors have seen our Pantry as an opportunity to support their neighbors by adding to it. Within days of filling the Pantry it will be empty. Items are taken piece by piece. People take only what they need and leave for others. Because this concept is anonymous, one might think a single person would abuse the opportunity of a free grocery
Funded by Seattle, WA (July 2019)