Stocking Little Free Libraries with Food
In March, when many Americans found themselves being asked to stay home, grocery shelves emptied out as many prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s when Girl Scout alum Kaitlin Connelly decided to take action in Loachapoka, a town near her home in Auburn, Alabama where the majority of students are on free or reduced-price lunch.
In 2013 Kaitlin earned her Silver Award by creating three Little Free Libraries in Loachapoka, offering community members around-the-clock access to books at no cost. The project has been so successful that seven years later Kaitlin’s little libraries are part of the city’s library system.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Kaitlin has turned her libraries into food pantries.
“My mom and I stocked them, and then we opened them up to the public to donate things. People are filling them up every day … and they are emptying out every day,” she says, adding that she has promoted the pantries on local Facebook pages. She also reached out to her Girl Scout troop mates, who are still some of her closest friends.
“In Loachapoka, 91% of students are on free or reduced lunch. So now they are without one of their food sources, and a lot of their parents are out of work, too,” Kaitlin explains. “Alabama has shut down [many] non-essential businesses, so a lot of people in the service industry are out of work.”
She’s proud of the way that people have rallied around her food pantries.
“It’s so incredible,” she says. “Honestly, the community is really coming together right now. There are a number of different food drives and pantries across town and everyone is doing everything they can to help each other out. It’s good southern hospitality