Richard Phillips confirms Oneonta’s first Little Free Pantry, located near the Magnolia House on Fourth Avenue, is “up and running” as of June 11. Phillips hopes that little free pantries will pop-up in other communities.
The concept of the Little Free Pantry is simple. It’s a place where community members can share food and items that someone in need might use.
It is intended to supplement items available locally through other organizations such as the Hope House and local churches.
In just the first five days, Phillips said community members have utilized the pantry. Some have given donations, while others have taken items from the pantry.
Donations are always accepted, but Phillips wants others to keep in mind that donations need to be resistant to hot and cold temperatures in addition to being able to carry in hand.
Items such as rice and other things prone to swelling due to moisture are not a good fit for the pantry. A weatherproof box is located below the pantry to help store donated items. Items for our furry friends are also welcome.
Phillips said that while people see Oneonta as a nice little community, they might not realize that there is a severe poverty issue. The Little Free Pantry is just one way to help combat need and help each other.
Anyone interested in establishing a Little Free Pantry in their community should contact their local municipality to make sure no city ordinances are being violated such as being located on city property or not being far enough off the road.
Phillips encourages everyone to spread the word about the pantry and establish new pantries in other communities. He said, “If you need something, take it, and if you have something to donate, give it.”