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Feeding the Hungry, One Little Free Pantry at a Time

One woman's little idea is having big ripple effects

By Amy Knapp

By now you've likely heard of the Little Free Library — those one-of-a-kind boxes filled with books that have sprouted up in yards and on school grounds across the country. The idea of these book bins is to build a sense of community while promoting literacy. And if it works for books, why not for other things?

Little Free Pantry
Jessica McClard next to her Little Free Pantry   |  Credit: NowThis News

That's what Jessica McClard, 41, of Fayetteville, Ark., was thinking when she put up a free pantry in her front yard, stocked with food and other items to help her neighbors in need. The idea took off. Members of the community began filling the Little Free Pantry with everything from baby food and canned goods to paper towels and soap.  Now, similar pantries are popping up around the globe — so many that McClard has lost count.

In addition to helping those who struggle with food insecurity, McClard hopes to bring awareness to and inspire conversations about the problem. In the U.S., 1 in 7 people don't have enough to eat, according to Feeding America.

These pantries may not be the fix, McClard says, but that doesn't stop her from thinking big.

"In my wildest dreams, it would be like a true community chest," McClard tells NowThis News in a video you can watch below. "We would take care of the people that really were in need."

- Posted by NowThis on Thursday, August 18, 2016

Amy Knapp was formerly the associate digital editor for Next Avenue. She previously was an editor for InnoVision Health Media's consumer publicationNatural Solutions Magazine.   Read More
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