When Girl Scout alum Hanna Goff and members of her multi-level Girl Scout troop decided to make Little Free Pantries for their Silver Award project in 2016, they had no idea just how important the work would become.
Little Free Pantries, which apply the community library concept to food donations, assist neighbors who may be dealing with food insecurity—helping them stock their pantries with dry goods and canned goods.
“The pantries are used by people in the community—whether they are homeless or hit a rough patch and are unable to afford food,” explains Goff. “They are open to anyone.”
These days, with the coronavirus making grocery shopping a challenge, especially for older and other at-risk Americans who need to avoid contact with people who may be contagious, Troop 40479’s Little Free Pantries are delivering in a bigger way than ever. Need for the resource has also increased because COVID-19 has led to an increase in unemployment and the number of families that need additional help putting meals on the table.
Each week, the troop works to keep four Little Free Pantries in the towns of Penrose and Florence, Colorado, stocked—three they built and one built by someone else—supplementing what other people in the community share there.
Recently, with the global pandemic spreading closer to home, the troop decided to ramp up its efforts.
“We thought this was a great time to put out a call for donations,” explains Goff’s co-leader, Jessica Freeland. “Several families from our troop donated and we also put out a call on Facebook for porch pickups from the community.”
They’ve also added pet food to the pantries.
During this time of self-quarantining and school closures, troop members are feeling grateful to be able to contribute to an effort that’s proving so helpful.
“My daughter said it felt good to get out of the house,” Freeland said, “and do something for others.”