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St. John’s offering food pantry

Passersby may have noticed a new free-standing box in the front of St. John’s Episcopal Church parking lot under the big oak tree. Installed a couple of weeks ago, it is a free pantry, stocked with non-perishable goods, and offered for any and all who are in need of food at any time.

Affiliated with Littlefreepantry.org., it is a special community project undertaken by members of St. John’s.
The idea for creating one here came through church member Cathy Stevens, who had seen similar ones in Tallahassee and Whigham. The motto on the sign says, “Give what you can. Take what you need,” thus encouraging donations as well as withdrawals. “It is similar in context to the little free library. People can come and go as they want and need,” explained Stevens. She acknowledges that there are organizations offering food packages, but maybe only during certain hours on certain days. What she likes most about the pantry is that it allows immediate food accessibility, especially things easily eaten without preparations. These could include peanut butter, crackers, canned goods with pop-up lids, cereal. Users may be homeless persons, travelers, or maybe children walking to or from school. “Even middle class families may be having problems meeting expenses at this time, and may run out of food before the next payday,” explained Stevens.

The Bainbridge High School shop class built the box to specifications, which incidentally has a lending book library on the back side of it. The church also welcomes donations of books, including children’s books.

Stevens says the box is checked each day by a member of the committee, and restocked as needed, but not overstocked, thus making room for additional donations. She sees the project as a community partnership and invites others – families, individuals, Sunday School groups or classrooms to join in.

Asked what a person wishing to make donations should do if they arrive and do not find room to place their articles, Stevens replied they had considered that, and for that reason do not fully stock it, thus leaving room for new additions as well as maintaining a variety of products. However, if a large amount is to be donated, then arrangements can be made for delivery to the church parish hall by contacting Stevens at 254-0354.