You might have seen the viral video circulating social media but if you haven't here's what's inspired a Little Free Pantry movement right here in Rochester, Minnesota by Claire Buss.

Plans are underway to get the Little Free Pantry up and running in our community but it will take some collaborative effort. There's an event at Forager Brewery on Sunday, December 11th that you can attend to help support this cause. The event is offering sleigh rides for an altruistic price - a donation of a non-perishable item or toiletry for the Little Free Pantry.

The goal of Little Free Pantry-Rochester, Mn "We hope to give people in the community a place where they can grab a few items if they are facing food instability or are in need of basic toiletries."

Claire Buss
Claire Buss

When I share about these community efforts, I'll spotlight the change maker behind it. Here's what Claire had to say about the Little Free Pantry effort:

DT: What’s the idea behind Little Free Pantry?

Claire: The idea is to give individuals and families another resource when it comes to food insecurity, and access to basic everyday toiletries. With the Pantries being more centrally located, it gives them easier access to items. I also hope this brings awareness to Rochester about our issues surrounding food insecurity and homelessness. There is very  much a stigma here with people that are living in poverty, and I think that needs to change.


DT: Where will the locations be?

Claire: We have solidified a spot at Forager Brewing on their nice green space in front. We also have three other spaces in the works, which will all be on property owned by local business owners!


DT: What’s needed for the Little Free Pantry?

Claire: Non-perishable food items, toiletries of all kinds (hairspray, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc) underwear, deodorant. We will also need volunteers to help continue to keep the pantries in working order, organizing items for the pantries, people to construct the pantry. Given that we live in Minnesota and winter is quickly coming up, I think this winter will be very much a pilot winter for us. We plan to put insulation in the pantries, but items may still freeze. So any ideas of how to avoid this are much appreciated, otherwise I think we just might have to have a little more specifics on what will be good items to stock during the winter months.


DT:  What made you want to get involved?

Claire: I came home from a mission trip in July and it sparked something that made me want to help others, locally. In addition when I learned about Rochester residents not having the ability to feed their children, I felt compelled to do something. I know that this won't fix our homeless and food insecurity issue, but if it can offset it for individuals a little bit, or inspires others to change something in their community, I consider it a success.

[Okay, so I had to ask her the next question. I love asking people what their favorite quote is] 

DT:  What’s your favorite inspiring quote?

Claire: "If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it." and "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

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