LYNCHBURG, Va. – People in Lynchburg are working on a new and unique way to give back, by tackling hunger in food desert areas. The community opened a "Little Free Pantry" in one of the deserted neighborhoods in the downtown area.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tina Day came to Hutcherson Early Learning Center to have lunch with her granddaughter. Another positive side to coming to the school, Day and her coworkers from Lynchburg City Schools are among some of the first people to fill the city’s second Little Free Pantry.
“Also as a citizen of Lynchburg it also just great to see that the community is stepping up to help each other,” Tina Day, donor, said.
The idea started in July, when volunteers built the first pantry in front of the Daily Bread shop on Clay Street.
“That pantry is filled and emptied every day. So it’s really heavily trafficked,” Elise Spontarelli, executive director of Vector Space, said.
Since then, Vector Space got with Home Depot, which gave it a $2,000 grant to put five more little pantries in the city.
“The needs are a little bit different at Hutcherson than they are with the Daily Bread Pantry. We’re looking mostly at families that are looking for healthy afterschool snacks and quick and easy dinners when we’re stocking the Hutcherson pantry,” Spontarelli said.
Organizers of the program say the nearest grocery store is about five miles away, and that means some don’t have quick and easy access to go shopping.
“This was just another great way for us to give back to the community, using the tools and the resources and the skills that we have here to be able to build something that then can go and help the community, help the people in our city,” Spontarelli said.
Vector Space is already on the way to finishing up their third pantry. They have a Monday, Wednesday and Friday stocking schedule set for anyone to come down and keep it full.
“I will be coming out here personally. Hopefully get my family out here during Thanksgiving time and maybe we can do something as a family and bring the grandkids as well,” Day said.
There will eventually be a total of six little free pantries throughout communities in downtown Lynchburg. Organizers say they hope to put their third pantry up near the Rivermont area before December.
Click here to learn more about the Little Free Pantry movement, and for ideas on how to start your own.