(Also published on our partner site White Center Now)
That’s a Little Free Pantry. In the spirit of Little Free Libraries, LFPs are a new neighborhood-based way to help address hunger – which has long existed in all neighborhoods, but is now worsened by the virus-crisis economic crunch. The project started in southeast Seattle and founder Molly Harmon says they are expanding west, looking for hosts:
A small movement has taken hold in SE Seattle and we are spreading the energy to West Seattle, White Center, and Burien – the building and installing of Little Free Pantries (LFP).
This project began with a micro-grant & six Little Free Pantries, and within a month we’ve raised over $3,000 and distributed nearly 44 Little Free Pantries. Little Free Pantries help neighbors feed neighbors. They aren’t intended to replace food security agencies nor eliminate the need to support them; rather they work alongside each other to draw awareness to food insecurity issues and create community through collective action in a neighborhood. We’ve begun working alongside Northwest Harvest & will work to reach out to area food banks, finding ways to utilize each other’s efforts in addressing food security.
The intention is to inform people on food insecurity and bring an issue, which hides in our society, to the surface. Millions of housed Americans are facing food insecurity on a daily basis and with our unemployment rate soaring due to COVID-19, food banks are struggling to access enough food to support those in need. It is imperative to educate the public on this growing need for food and LFPs bring this issue front and center to our neighborhoods, but in a supportive and caring way. Micro-communities form around this pillar (Little Free Pantry) and in turn, connect neighbors who otherwise would not have met. By neighbors stocking their neighborhood Little Free Pantry with non-perishable foods, it keeps the pantry full and helps those needing a meal. Whether a need for food or a need to give, Little Free Pantries help neighbors feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods.
We have hit our recent goal of $1150, which will enable us to build 18 pantries. We will distribute these pantries for free throughout Southwest Seattle. This is a grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to address immediate and local needs as a viable way to build community and support those facing food insecurity.
More information can be found at www.thelittlefreepantries.org. Additionally, if you feel a Little Free Pantry would work well in your neighborhood, please apply through the website.
Food insecurity is prevalent, whether you have seen it firsthand or not. And COVID-19 is intensifying the food insecurity that many of our neighbors are vulnerable to. With schools closed and layoffs rampant, many in our community are potentially going to bed hungry A quote from an owner of anewly installed Little Free Pantry in the Seward Park neighborhood, “Since it went up a little over two weeks ago, our LFP (located on Seward Park Ave, between Willow and Brighton) has been used daily, confirming that hunger is often hiding in plain sight, even in neighborhoods you might not think it would exist in.”
Questions? Ask here.