ST. MARYS — St. Marys Public Library has once again stepped up to do its part to help local people in need.
The library now offers two “small, free pantries,” principal Leslie Swope said.
A Little Free Food Pantry is a “participatory solution” to local needs.
“Whether there’s a need for food or a need to donate, mini-pantries help feed neighbors, feed neighborhoods. The purpose of the small free pantry is to prevent food insecurity,” Swope said.
There are 30 million children who depend on free lunch at school, Swope said. Efforts like this help fight child hunger in local communities.
“For many of these children, this meal is the only regular access to food they have,” Swope said.
There is now a free pantry near the children’s room in the library, which is reserved for children and offers easy-to-prepare meals.
The other pantry is located outside the library and open to all members of the community, 24/7.
The SMPL partnered with CHOP — Child Hunger Outreach Partners — and the Elk County Community Foundation to help provide some of the food items, Swope said.
Any community members who wish to donate to the pantries can drop off non-perishable items at the library reception, where staff members can then place them in the pantries as needed. People can also place items in pantries if space permits.
“These pantry should not replace the regular pantry or other community services. It’s a safety net to help those who might ‘fall through the cracks’,” Swope said. “There are no requirements or registrations. You just take what you need and leave the rest to others.