In early 2017, I was exposed to an idea that originated in Arkansas…a Little Free Pantry. The basic idea borrowed from and was based off of “Little Libraries” that have been around for several years now. If you are familiar with the idea, it is a box on a post in a public space that people are free to leave or take books from.
Someone in Arkansas was inspired to take that idea to a different level, to go from books to food and/or basic supplies for those in need.
After considering the idea, I was inspired to bring that to our church leadership. While there was general agreement that it was an idea with merit, there were even more concerns regarding how these might be implemented and distributed.
I initiated meetings with the Mayor of Peoria, the code enforcement division, and ultimately, we wound up discussing this project with the school district. The idea was enthusiastically embraced and we agreed to build and install six different pantries at six different school properties designated as those serving a demographic with the greatest need.
They were well received by the community and by the local media. They are now mostly self-sufficient, which was our ultimate goal.