Little Free Food Pantries get new look, sound structures, fresh start

YORK – For a couple of years, a Little Free Food Pantry has stood at the corner of First Street and Lincoln Avenue in downtown York. Food items are left, food items are taken. The intent is to help provide food for those in need, while being a way for people to quietly and graciously help.

Another intent is for it to be readily available, with a take/leave approach.

A few months ago, the Little Food Pantry started to show wear and tear, with the door nearly falling off its hinges at one point. The paint was fading and the Nebraska wind was taking its toll. Nothing had been left, or taken, in a long time because of the disrepair of the structure.

That’s when the York County Community Coalition (YC3, previously known as the York County Health Coalition) stepped up, by refurbishing the Little Food Pantry structure, as well as creating another similar structure at the York County Fairgrounds (across from 2325 North Nebraska Avenue, on the south side of the fairgrounds across the street from District 5 Probation).

They are brightly colored in yellows and blues, so they are easily seen and aesthetically happy.

They are well anchored and structurally sound, to protect the items inside.

Organizers say, “The mini pantry movement is a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, mini pantries help feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods. Take what you need, give what you can.”

Britney Watson, YC3 central navigator, said “The Little Free Pantries came from discussions in our Basic Needs Subcommittee meetings around the topic of food insecurity. This is a small way to combat those immediate needs when food pantries are closed and also a simple way for people to donate and give back. Our Basic Needs Subcommittee is always looking for solutions to solve the challenges of basic needs in our community and we are looking for additional volunteers to serve on that subgroup.”

How can people help? YC3 says people can leave healthy, non-perishable food items. What they don’t want are any sharp items, such as razors; chemicals; previously worn clothing; or anything illegal. What they would like to see left at the pantries are canned vegetables and proteins, personal care items and paper goods. Kid-friendly, non-perishables are welcome, as well as crayons.

They just ask for those benefitting from the food pantries, “Please be courteous for all who utilize these. Do not take everything and save some for others.”

As this writing, the pantry at First and Lincoln was empty, so it certainly has been fulfilling the goal. There were items at the pantry on the fairgrounds, but there was plenty of room for more items to be donated.

Watson said they plan to put another pantry up on the southwest side of town. “It is currently being built by a local hobbyist, who built the pantry at the fairgrounds. We encourage other non-profit groups, churches or businesses to put up a Little Free Pantry of their own.”

If someone would like to speak with Watson about establishing another Little Pantry, she can be reached at 402-363-9946.

 

 

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