Amid heartbreaking stories of people emptying the shelves of supermarkets and stores across the country, leaving nothing left to buy for anxious shoppers like elderly citizens, there are some who are going above and beyond to lend a helping hand to their communities.
People are filling up their little free libraries with food, toilet paper, and other necessities for neighbors who are in need all while keeping the rules of social distancing.
The makeshift pantries have little notes there which encourage people to pay it forward with handwritten messages like “Take what you need, share what you can,” and other similar adaptations of Little Free Library’s “Take a book, leave a book” motto. Some people have emptied their libraries to make space to stock peanut butter, canned soup, and pasta.
One little library had a sign saying “To help our neighbors affected by the COVID-19 crisis, this Little Free Library is converted to a Little Free Pantry. Take what you need and if you can, please donate what you can spare!” which has gone viral on social media.
Literary Hub explains that donating to a Little Free Library-turned-pantry is a great way to help neighbors who cannot go to the store or feel anxious on seeing low-stocked shelves. It also helps combat feelings of powerlessness or loneliness due to self-isolation, because you and others are fostering a sense of community even without any physical contact.
Greig Metzger, the executive director of the Little Free Library organization, suggests people to use their Little Free Libraries as collection points for larger food donations to nearby charities. “Food shelves everywhere are facing increased demand,” Metzger, who served as an executive director for a Minneapolis food shelf before joining Little Free Library, wrote in a blog post. “You can find the food shelf nearest you by doing a Google search for ‘food shelf near me.’ Perhaps use your Little Free Library to host a food drive to help that local food shelf.”
This story is giving us immense happiness and has restored our faith in humanity that people are willing to share their food and supplies with others in the community even when they are quarantined and maintaining social distancing.