The mother of two has introduced a simple way to bring her community together to help others.
- Posted on Jan 25, 2018
Fayettville, Arkansas mother Jessica McClard is making a big impact on her community. On a jog through her neighborhood, she noticed Little Free Libraries in people’s yards, wooden boxes where people could pick up a free book or donate books for others to read. That’s when she had the idea to build a Little Free Pantry.
With a $250 fund, she set up her first pantry in the front lawn of her church in May 2016. The prominent location made it easy for people to donate. Rather than featuring books, the free pantry included non-perishable foods and essential items, like school supplies and toiletries.
"Thank You all. Every book, magazine, and letter means a lot to us when we are away from home. It gives us hope, confidence, happiness, strength and pride that someone is there for us." - Former Navy Sailor, Part of Operation Gratitude
This once small project has since gained 20,000 fans on Facebook and has inspired others to build their own pantries throughout the country. After sharing her story on the Little Free Pantry Facebook page, now, pantries exist in several towns including Ardmore, Oklahoma and South Fayettville, Arkansas. On Facebook, she encourages others to support The Little Free Pantry by either filling the boxes with essential items or building a pantry of their own.
“My feeling is little free structures both create space for neighborliness and address social problems,” McClard told the Huffington Post.
The organization has done more than just provide for those in need. The Little Free Pantry allows people to provide for their neighbors and helps the community come together to help others.