We often take for granted our ability to provide food for our families or just to have something to eat. HUD estimates nearly 7,700 people were homeless in Minnesota at some point in 2017. Of that, nearly half are people in families with children.

Now in Rochester is a community pantry open 24/7/365. It is a place where those who are blessed give what they can, and for those who are less fortunate can take what they need. It's stocked weekly by its founder Claire Buss and by community members who care. Those in need can stop by any time of day or night to take what they need for themselves and family.

I caught up with Claire Buss, founder of The Little Pantry to learn what urged her to create this opportunity.

"I started it in March of 2017. I was interested in giving back to the community. When I had heard about the ongoing issue of homelessness and food insecurity in individuals and families I wanted to reach out. I had met a family of 5 who was living out of a tent and the only consistent meal the children had was at school. This really opened my eyes to the issues going on in my own backyard. Thankfully there is a lot of people in the community that want to help. It won’t solve homelessness, food insecurity, or replace places like Channel One- but it’s an additional resource that people can use and hopefully give some people hope that the community does care about them. The goal is to help as many people as we can!"


  • Forager Brewery
  • Broadway and Civic Center Drive in front of the strip mall across from Kemps
  • Snappy Stop on the south side of town.

Check out their Facebook Page for more info. People can either donate directly to the pantries by filling or adding items when they have the time or feel the need. They can also make food and toiletry donations to Claire and she can gladly fill the pantries as needed (every Saturday!) If monetary donations are preferred, please contact Claire Buss LittleFreePantryRochMN@gmail.com.

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