Little Free Pantry aims to end hunger in Denton

Little Free Pantry aims to end hunger in Denton

Little Free Pantry aims to end hunger in Denton
October 20
18:54 2016

Little Free Pantry is preparing to make its way into Denton with plans to help people all over the city overcome food insecurity.

The organization, which originated in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has made its way to various places in the country, including McKinney, Texas. The Little Free Pantry is a wooden box on a post where people can add in food and supplies. It is available 24/7 to anyone in need.

Back in August, Amber Briggle, Soma Massage Therapy owner and former Denton City Council candidate, heard of the idea and has made it one of her goals to bring Little Free Pantry to Denton.

According to feedingamerica.org, 16.8 percent of the population in Denton County is food insecure. The ultimate goal of the pantry is to help these people combat food insecurity.

“I came across an article on Facebook about a woman who started this in her own community,” Briggle said. “I was just inspired. I was like ‘we can do that here. We got little libraries, why can’t we have little free pantries?’”

Briggle shared the article on her Facebook page. Soon afterwards, people showed interest and started reaching out to her. A few weeks later, she was approached by Pat Smith, the executive director of Serve Denton. Serve Denton is a nonprofit organization that supports other nonprofits that aid in helping people become self-sufficient.

Smith already had a young group of men who were looking for community service projects when he encountered Briggle’s Facebook post. After contacting Briggle, he started to look for various businesses and organizations to sponsor the project.

MG Briggle and Pat smith of Serve Denton build the first Little Free Pantry prototype for Denton. Amber Briggle | Courtesy

MG Briggle and Pat Smith of Serve Denton build the first Little Free Pantry prototype for Denton. Amber Briggle | Courtesy

Upon recruiting the sponsors, Little Free Pantry Denton gives instructions on how to run Little Food Pantry sites. Each sponsor is responsible for running a pantry and for donating some of the food that goes in it.

The goal for the next few weeks is to find 12 sponsors. Currently there are two sponsors. By the end of November, the goal is to have gained 20 sponsors and to have opened 20 food pantries around Denton.

“It’s been slower than we’d like,” Smith said of the process.

Little Free Pantry Denton has relied heavily on social media to spread the word about the cause. Through it, they have attracted volunteers to help build and donate to the Little Food Pantries.

The College of Public Affairs and Community Service has shown interest in the project and is looking to partner with the food pantry. Briggle, Smith and the university are planning to begin working together in January.

“What we hope to do is build a network of these little food pantries across town,” Smith said. “Then people can put them on Facebook or on our Serve Denton webpage. People can find out where they are and if they need help, they can go get something from there.”

Briggle also hopes to reach out to college students with the food pantries who have a difficult time gathering wholesome and nutritious groceries.

“A lot of the students don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Briggle said. “If you’re going to go grocery shopping and don’t have a car, you’re probably going to go to CVS and that’s all processed foods.”

Although sponsors and various programs will be providing the Little Free Pantry with food and supplies, donations from anyone are welcome.

Overall, Briggle and Smith hope that the formation of these food pantries will bring the community together in a new, unique way.

“For me, it’s all about the community working together for people that are struggling,” Smith said. “It will further encourage people to get involved and help others. And I think when everyone does that, it raises the quality of life for everyone in the community and shows a sincere kind of love for everyone who is struggling.”

Featured Image: Amber Briggle sits with food donations for the Denton Little Free Pantry. Taylor Ratcliff

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Victoria Monteros

Victoria Monteros

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