Little Free Pantries Lessen Food Insecurity

With the approaching holidays and the arrival of winter, many Dentonites will be stocking up on supplies to avoid long lines at the grocery stores. However, some residents may find themselves in a bind when balancing a precarious budget including rent and basic utilities. So in partnership with the city of Argyle’s Young Men’s Service League, Serve Denton has provided a new source for those struggling to keep hunger at bay called the ‘Little Free Pantry’

In an interview with Serve Denton’s operations director Carlie Kuban, the two organizations came together as part of YMSL’s yearly ‘transformative project’. “When they were looking for something to do, they contacted Serve Denton. So my executive director, Pat Smith, he had heard about the Little Free Pantries. He thought that might be a good fit for them, so we partnered with them to do the project,” Kuban stated. 

Essentially, the Little Free Pantries are designed to hold a small capacity of food and supplies for individuals and families in need. So far, eight have been placed throughout the city, while seven more have been built and are awaiting installation. Kuban explains the pantries are installed within visibility and accessibility to the public. For an individual interested in hosting one of these pantries, the application process can be completed online. From there, Serve Denton and YMSL take the lead. 

“If somebody wants to host one at their business or at their home, they don’t have to pay for anything. They just have to let us know they want to be a sponsor and we’ll come put it in. They’re just responsible for helping maintain it,” she said. 

While there are many organized food pantries currently in the Denton community, the Little Free Pantries provide an additional resource for food insecure individuals — especially individuals who may not be eligible to receive services like food stamps or other need-based resources because of their income. The pantries also fill the gap on the days when individuals aren’t able to visit regular facilities during normal business hours. 

“If someone is just on their way home from work and they don’t have time to go to the food pantry they can just easily swing by and pick it up,” Kuban said. “It’s very neighbor to neighbor, so anyone in the community can go and stock it and anyone can go and pick it up. There’s no requirements. There’s no paperwork.”

The pantries also provide an outlet for those looking to assist others in their community who may not have the time to donate towards extensive volunteering. Some items that can be donated are nonperishable foods with pop top cans, and non-food items including gloves, band aids, and hand sanitizer. A full list items is located also on the Serve Denton website.

Ultimately, Kuban hopes that with the advent of the Little Free Pantries, members of the Denton community will be able to serve struggling members of the community. 

“There’s a lot of people who maybe don’t have a lot of time, but might be able to bless those around them who are in need. It’s really easy for them to pick stuff up and to store it and drop it off on their way home. [And] someone who doesn’t have much that night can just easily go and pick it up and they’re not hungry that night.”

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