These Community Free-Access Pantries Are Restoring My Hope in Humanity

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Little free pantry Instagram photo.
Instagram photo via user @weliveonabus.

Remember a while back when those cute little free community library boxes started springing up all over the place? Those are cool. They’re a novel idea (see what I did there?), and have become fairly popular. There’s one just a block south of where I live. But the “little free pantry” initiative is some next level stuff. Instead of lending books to the community for free, these pantries offer free food to those in need. On many of the posts you’ll read a heartwarming message: “Take what you need. Give when you can.” And that’s as simple as it needs to be.

According to Upworthy.com, Jessica McClard of Fayetteville, Arkansas, is behind the grassroots effort. And sure enough, she was inspired by the community library boxes project. You can learn more about the initiative on littlefreepantry.org. But in the meantime, take a look at some of the pantries people have been putting together and posting online under the hashtag #littlefreepantry.

1. In Mableton, Georgia

2. In Tacoma, Washington

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Did you know there’s a Little Free Pantry at the childhood home of The Ventures’ founding member, Don Wilson? . The pantry at South 70th and Montgomery is stocked with non perishable foods as well as basic self care items, baby needs, school supplies, and pet food. There’s also a companion Little Free Library. . Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, some of their ‘60s hits, Wipeout, Walk, Don’t Run, and the Hawaii Five-O theme song are instantly recognizable. . Though some say The Ventures predated the surf rock movement, their music was instrumental (ha) in forming the genre. . A lot of their early shows we're played right here in Tacoma, including some at the old armory. If this is all old news to you, here’s a little factoid you may not know: . Don Wilson hates peas. His only request when meeting the current home owners was that they don’t put them in the pantry. . . . #tacomahistory #southtacoma #tacomamusichistory #tacomamusic #littlefreelibrary #littlefreepantry #givewhatyoucan #takewhatyouneed #theventures #surfrock #surfmusic #tacoma #gritcity #cityofdestiny @theventureslive @littlefreelibrary @ventureslittlelibraryandpantry

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3. In Rogers, Arkansas

4. Probably in Columbus, Ohio

5. Littleton, Colorado

6. Greenville, North Carolina

7. Columbus, Ohio

8. Joliet, Illinois

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#littlefreelibrary close to home! ❤️ #littlefreepantry too!

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9. Location unknown

10. Columbus, Ohio

11. Paris, Ontario (Canada!)

12. Yellow Springs, Ohio

13. Location unknown

14. Ascot Vale, Victoria (Australia!)

15. Colorado

16. Minocqua, Wisconsin

17. Salt Lake City, Utah

Check out more little free pantries on Instagram under the hashtag #littlefreepantry.

This initiative isn’t affiliated with the Church per se, but it has everything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what the Little Free Pantry project is all about, whether the people participating are Christians, Muslims, Taoists, or Atheists. All truth is gospel, and the gospel truths evident in this project transcend whatever church you associate with. It’s been awesome to especially see our Christian friends rally behind their communities through this project. It’s about kindness, charity, feeding the hungry, and caring for the poor. And every little bit helps.

Have you seen any little free pantries near you? Let us know in the comments!

David Snell is a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's the Founder of The Sunday Pews, and has experience writing for Mormon Newsroom Pacific, KBYU11, Classical 89 Radio, FamilyShare.com and plenty more. He tries not to take himself too seriously and just wants to brighten your day a bit.