Little Free Pantry Project is Already a Success
(Gillette, Wyo.) The Gillette Little Free Pantries program began with a food and personal items drive at the Gillette Saturday Farmer’s Market, Saturday, July 14, which collected 77 pounds of donations.
“We thought there was a need in Gillette and wondered ‘what could we do to help this?’” said Cent$ible Nutrition Senior Coordinator Beth Chapell. “And it’s really turned into a great project.”
The Council of Community Services was the first location to receive a pantry right outside the council’s own food pantry. The Salvation Army also offered to maintain the pantry located in front of their office off Highway 14-16 near Foothills Theater. Two more pantries were dropped off yesterday at the City Public Works Division to be placed at Sunflower and Lakeside parks.
“We want people to have that dignity and be able to get things they need without having to feel ashamed,” said Chapell
She is looking to place the fifth pantry on the southern side of Gillette to provide a wider coverage area.
“It’s really our hope that it will just take off on its own and become more of a community driven program,” continued Chapell.
Another donation drive is planned for October, but donations will be accepted anytime at the UW Extension Office downtown. Chapell said people are also encouraged to place donations directly in the pantries if they will fit. The only requirements for donations is that they are non-perishable and not expired.
Last week, a woman donated a large bag full of hotel toiletries.
“These are great because they last a few days and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the pantries,” said Chapell. “Basically anything that can help someone else.”
Other items that have been donated in the first week of the program are lip balm, lotion, and sunscreen.
The pantries have already seen some use in their first week. Cent$ible Nutrition, mainly Chapell, will be in charge of monitoring and restocking the pantries.
The Gillette News Record donated the five newspaper boxes that were repurposed as the Little Free Pantries. New Vision Auto detailing painted the boxes and Students 4 Change decorated them.