Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2021

Little Free Pantry:  It’s Like a Little Free Library, But for Food

By Julie Whitcomb

You have heard of the Little Free Libraries; our neighborhood has several stocked with books for anyone to enjoy.  What if the concept of “giving what you can and taking what you need” in the wooden box was applied to something else?  Meet The Little Free Pantry!

The Little Free Pantry was launched in May 2016.  It is a grassroots movement about neighbors helping neighbors, borrowing its idea from the Little Free Library concept.  Books were replaced by non-perishable food, personal care items, and paper goods.  By August 2016, it had grown from a single box placed in a town in Arkansas to a national and international project.  The idea is to raise awareness about food insecurity and empower community members to help their neighbors.

Since March 2020, the need for food banks and food giveaways in the Metro area has increased by 50 percent and continues to grow as unemployment, health issues, and financial strain persist due to COVID.  The Little Free Pantries are a way of helping our neighbors through these hard times.

Little Free Libraries can easily be converted to Little Free Pantries.

Little Free Pantries can be converted Little Free Libraries, file cabinets, upcycled mini refrigerators, bookcases with doors, newspaper boxes, etc.  The location is key since you want the pantry accessible and in a safe, lighted spot.  You can be as creative as you wish with designs, paint, and decorations!

Stock the Little Free Pantry with nonperishable, non-expired food items such as canned fruits and vegetables, rice, mac and cheese, cans of beans and soup, applesauce, boxes of cereal, granola bars, crackers.  Also paper goods like toilet paper, tissues, and personal care items like bandages and disposable Masks.  Anything that a neighbor might need to help them.  Just make sure that the LFP is child- [and racoon-!] safe.

All of the neighbors can contribute to the pantry or start their own.  If you do set up a Little Free Pantry, please let us know at or send an email to the editor so we can publish the location in the next newsletter.  More information and photos can be found at the Little Free Pantry website.

[Whitcomb lives on Chiswell Lane.]   ■

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