This is absolutely brilliant. Repurposing a #LittleFreeLibrary As a little free food pantry. That’s taking watching out for your neighbors to the whole next level. I love it. #FoodInsecurity pic.twitter.com/Q3I9tE9kdn— Kim Leonard (@kimleonard) March 21, 2020
Since 2016, more than 75,000 Little Free Libraries have been registered around the world. They are honor-system book cabinets built along sidewalks in neighborhoods, which are now being stocked with canned food, dry goods, toiletries, and toilet paper.
Just look at this #LittleFreeLibrary in Arlington MA that has been turned into a #LittleFreeFoodPantry 💕💜📚— 📚Nandini Bajpai 💐📝 (@nandinibajpai) March 18, 2020
Please do this if you can. Times are hard for so many right now. The pic is from a friend's facebook feed, so I don't know who it is but book lovers are the best people! pic.twitter.com/kOVVvVA4Bm
Shelly Anderson took the opportunity to support her community and filled a pantry in Woodbury, Minnesota. Along with her kids and school support, she converted the Little Free Library at her kids’ elementary school into a free pantry.
“My kids have invested a lot of time into just making sure there’s stuff up there,” says Anderson, “The experience for them being able to be a part of something that gives back. That’s really cool.”
Anderson and her kids check on the pantry every few days and have been pleased to see others are contributing as well.
“The food is forever fluctuating. People are taking what they need and putting in, so it’s great.”
The kids and their parents are sure to sanitize door handles and stock in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Some have even removed cabinet doors to minimize possible contact.
We're doing this in my small town of Foxboro MA. also. pic.twitter.com/gN5sjUgWNF— vmsfox (@vmsfox) March 18, 2020
Jessica McClard, in Arkansas, says the Little Free Pantries are more important than ever. “This concept is made for this moment because we can maintain social distancing and also, there are a lot of people hurting right now.”
McClard has been establishing and maintaining cabinets in her area since 2016.
“Arkansas is perpetually one of the more food-insecure states. I really hoped that the Little Free Library concept was familiar enough with folks that people would know what to do with it, and it would be something that would get duplicated rather quickly. And that’s what happened.”
On a cold, rainy walk through my neighborhood, I found a beautiful ray of sunshine. Someone filled a #LittleFreeLibrary with food and supplies (there’s still books, too). This bit of #coronakindness truly warmed my heart. I hope it does the same for you. @KENS5 #kens5eyewitness pic.twitter.com/99h24khM5r— Mat Gaskins (@mat_gaskins) March 22, 2020
Luckily, there is a #littlefreelibrary just around the corner here in Torquay. AND, as a bonus, they have toilet paper! #winning #ToiletPaperApocalypse @LtlFreeLibrary @streetlibraryau pic.twitter.com/MTOfruvXj1— Barefoot Librarian (@kimbrap) March 17, 2020
“There’s a lot of good things happening if you look for it,” McClard says. “I’m seeing lots of neighborly aid happening, and that is extremely inspiring.”
Executive director of the Little Free Library organization, Greig Metzger, urges people to respond to urgent increased demands for food. Before joining Little Free Library, he served as the executive director for a Minneapolis food shelf.
He wrote in a blog post, “You can find the food shelf nearest you by doing a Google search for ‘food shelf near me.’ Perhaps use your Little Free Library to host a food drive to help that local food shelf.”