The Northeastern Iowa Synod Hunger Network has supplied six little pantries for congregations that have made a commitment to install, display and maintain a pantry on church property.
Each little free pantry will be stocked with nonperishable food items, personal care products and household items for anyone who needs them. The pantries are placed in accessible locations where people can easily bring items to share or take items they need — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round.
The pantries will be located at Our Saviour’s, Mason City; Redeemer, Waverly; Emmanuel, Strawberry Point; St. Paul, Volga, Lord of Life, Dubuque; and Bethesda, Jewell. Other congregations have made their own pantries — Our Savior’s, Waterloo; St. John American, Arlington; St. Peter, Garnavillo; and West Clermont, Clermont; Faith, Shell Rock; Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Waterloo; and Holy Trinity, Dubuque.
Little Free Pantry Project
The Little Free Pantry project is part of a nationwide initiative based on the “Little Free Libraries” project, in which people can take a book and share a book. The pantries are small, so they do not provide the quantity and variety found at other food pantries, but the little pantries can be accessed at any time.
The six pantries provided by the Hunger Network were built by volunteers from the Waverly area, including members of Redeemer Lutheran and students from Wartburg College and Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Bremwood campus. The Men’s Small Group from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School helped build the pantries as part of their study of the book, Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.
Neighbors and community members are encouraged to bring nonperishable items to help keep the pantries stocked. Recommended items include canned vegetables, boxed meals, paper goods, and personal care items. People may want to share kid-friendly snacks in the summer or school supplies in the fall.
“This project is about feeding neighbors and building community,” says Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop. “The pantries don’t replace other food security services in the community, but they can serve as a safety net for families in a pinch.”
Anyone wanting to learn more about the little pantry project should contact Alison Pettit, Hunger Network facilitator or call the synod office at 319-352-1414.