Toronto now has its first Little Free Pantry

Jul 20 2017, 1:30 pm

Kind of like Little Free Libraries, The Little Free Pantry (LFP) is a grassroots initiative that “utilizes a familiar, compelling concept to pique local interest in and action against local food insecurity,” and Toronto just got its first.

Oakwood Village resident Melissa Castanheira installed a little free pantry on her front lawn on Cedric Avenue just yesterday. A little sign in the window identifies its purpose and instructs to “Give what you can, Take what you need.”

Little Free Pantry

Melissa Castanheira‎

When reached by telephone, Castanheira shared with Daily Hive that she learned of Little Free Pantry in the United States a while back but didn’t have the opportunity to make her own until now.

She was inspired by some hardships growing up and, while she considers herself lucky, she can relate to what it’s like to be low on supplies.

Neighbours are welcome to “grab a can of beans or a pack of rice, or what they’re missing to help get through the rest of the week,” and then return the favour (when possible) when pay day rolls around again.

Little Free Pantry

Melissa Castanheira

Castanheira purchased a Little Free Library second hand for $50 and sourced the pole and concrete for the foundation from Home Depot. She estimates the total cost was around $70.

The pantry is barely a day old but already neighbours have made contributions. She’s hoping that come September, donations will include school supplies and she is specific to mention that feminine hygiene products are always in need.

Per the Little Free Pantry website, here are some of the kinds of things that are needed,

Encourage your contributors to stock according to need. Discourage sharps (razors), chemicals, previously worn clothing (which adds bulk), or anything illegal. Generally, canned vegetables and proteins, personal care items, and paper goods go fast. Kid-friendly non-perishables, crayons, and inexpensive party favor items are great for Summer…school supplies for August!

While Castanheira might be the first in Toronto with a Little Free Pantry, hopefully, the movement catches on. Like the website says, “The single Little Free Pantry is “little.” Lots of Little Free Pantries might be big. Duplicate freely.”

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