Applying the Little Free Library® concept to activate community engagement of food insecurity, the Little Free Pantry is a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or personal care items, or a need to give, the Little Free Pantry facilitates neighbors helping neighbors, building community.

The Little Free Pantry, or Blessing Box as they are called in some communities, utilizes a familiar, compelling concept (Little Free Library) to pique interest in, and action against, local food insecurity and lack of access to basic personal care items.

A Blessing Box offers a place around which neighbors might coalesce to meet neighborhood needs, whether for food, health and personal care items, or for fun.

Through the efforts of Cherokee County K-State Research & Extension, the Columbus Public Library, Columbus school children and teachers, and many caring residents, five Blessing Boxes now grace our town. Boxes are located at the Columbus Public Library, the First Christian Church, Highland School, Central School, and Apple Glen Apartments. You are encouraged to take what you need and share what you can.

This article tells about one woman’s efforts in Kansas City, to address the needs of local citizens; her organization, Giving the Basics, has grown into a citywide movement:

Giving the Basics http://www.kansascity.com/living/article205687179.html

These are the items recommended by Giving the Basics as the most needed:

All-purpose cleaner
Body soap
Conditioner
Combs
Dental floss
Deodorant
Diapers
Dish soap

Feminine hygiene pads
Floss
Hairbrushes
Incontinence pads

Laundry soap
Lotion
Pull-ups
Shampoo
Shavers
Shaving crème
Storage Bags
Tampons
Tissue
Toilet paper
Toothbrushes
Toothpaste
Trash bag

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