Little Free Pantry at FPC

Give what you can. Take what you need

Food insecurity is all around us, sometimes unseen, right in our midst.  The Little Free Pantry at FPC responds to this need, providing curbside, 24-hour access to non-perishable food and personal care items for those who need it.   


Launched in 2020 by our youth members, the Pantry stands as a beacon of grace at the entrance to our parking lot on Scarborough Road. We invite our members to extend a hand of caring by stocking the pantry and volunteering to support it.  Learn more here about how you can help!

Many Hands, Young Spirits: About the Little Free Pantry at FPC


In Spring 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Cleveland Heights, FPC’s middle school and high school youth wanted to find a way to help. Grounded from planned mission trips, the students looked closer to home, saw food insecurity as a community need, and decided to make a plan.  Led by FPC member Peggy Roberts and former Director of Christian Formation Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks, they learned about the Little Pantry national movement and embraced it as a project they could own and continually support.


Meeting by Zoom, email, and texts, youth group members collaborated to plan the design and placement of the Little Free Pantry. Much thought went into determining the right size and ensuring easy access for drive-by and walk-up users. Church member and youth group dad Brad Richer stepped forward to build the Pantry, which was installed at the Scarborough Road parking lot by Matt Kashuk, a structural engineer. The youth group gathered in the summer to waterproof, decorate and paint the Free Pantry and brainstormed how to promote it on social media, local news, and neighborhood flyers.  Amy Kim announced “Extending the Table,” an invitation to the congregation to help contribute items to stock the pantry, a flyer was distributed to neighbors, and an article appeared in The Cleveland Heights Observer.


Generosity abounded.  By August, youth group parent Stacy Hunter created a Sign-Up Genius for young people and their families. Those who signed up were asked to make sure the Pantry was kept clean, organized, and restocked with overflow donations.  They also were asked to consider promoting the Pantry to their communities in whatever way they felt comfortable.  Many used their social media accounts, texted family and friends when they saw a need for donations, and made donations themselves.  As FPC began offering pandemic-style drive-through Communion Sundays, the church also invited members to bring food donations, which were accepted and stocked by the sign-up volunteers. 


FPC’s Pantry became the largest Pantry in Cleveland Heights, and soon donations exceeded its 27 X 34- inch walls.  An overflow bin was installed outside, and the church set aside the Chicote Room as an indoor storage area for the growing donations.  Volunteers Peggy Roberts and Mity Fowler expanded promotion in the Cleveland Heights community, and The Heights Observer highlighted the FPC Pantry as a community hunger resource.  In December, the Serve Council donated $1,000 to purchase food items to respond to the growing need.


As the project continues to grow, FPC invites all members to join in its support.  Below are the ways you can help:


How You Can Help


Contribute Non-Perishable and Personal Care Items

The Pantry benefits from donations of non-perishable food and personal care items. Check the shopping list here.  You can place donated items in the Pantry anytime.  If the Pantry is full, please place your items in the plastic tub located next to the stairway to the church’s parking lot entrance.  If the church is open, you can also bring your donation indoors and place it in the Chilcote Room. The Pantry can only safely accept non-perishable, shelf-stable items and personal care items.  We encourage you to find other places to donate produce or items requiring refrigeration.


Help Us Accept Food Donations on Communion Sundays

Members are encouraged to bring food donations to the Pantry on Communion Sundays, which are held on the first Sunday of the month.  During COVID-19, you can represent the Pantry by collecting goods donated during drive-up Communion distributions and organizing them in our Chilcote Room storage area.  Once we’re back in person, the Pantry representative can accept goods in the Anderson Room before and after services and organize them in the Chilcote Room.


Become a Little Free Pantry Curator

Do you love organizing and helping people at the same time? Sign up for a week as a Little Free Pantry Curator.  You’ll visit the Pantry 1-2 times a week to be sure it is stocked and that any overflow items are stored in our bins and indoor storage room. You’ll also make sure the Pantry is well organized and its contents easily accessed by its users.  This is also a good time to bring your own food and personal care donations to the Pantry.  Sign up using our Sign-Up Genius Portal. Click here!


Help Us Share Donations with Local Hunger Organizations

We want to be sure every donated item goes toward the cause of eliminating food insecurity in our community.  When we have excess inventory, we’re seeking volunteers to drive the donated materials to the Heights Emergency Food Center on Mayfield Road or other locations.  Please email info@fpccle.org about your interest in helping in this important way and the times you are available.


Contribute to the Little Free Pantry

Sometimes we need to buy food or personal care items that aren’t covered by donations.  Your contribution supports our budget to ensure that the Little Free Pantry is always well stocked for those in need.  Donate here.




About the Little Free Pantry national movement

Give what you can.  Take what you need.

 

Jessica McClard launched the grassroots mini pantry movement on May 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when she planted the Little Free Pantry Pilot, a wooden box on a post containing food, personal care, and paper items accessible to everyone all the time, no questions asked. She hoped her spin on the Little Free Library® concept would pique local awareness of food insecurity while creating a space for neighbors to help meet neighborhood food needs.


A little over a month later, Crystal Rock Cathedral Women’s Ministries planted Blessing Box in Ardmore, Oklahoma. By August 2016, the movement was global. Throughout the US and internationally, the mini pantry movement continues growing and moving. 


The mini pantry movement is a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, mini pantries help feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods. The mini pantry movement activates neighbor engagement of food insecurity. Its guiding principles are:


WE SHARE THE MOVEMENT.

The mini pantry movement is everyone’s, and we talk about it. 


WE WORK TOGETHER.

We count on each other to create something bigger than ourselves.


WE CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS.

We are interdependent. 


WE PRACTICE RADICAL TRUST.

We give without expectation or strings attached. 

We mutually benefit. 


WE FEED NEIGHBORS.

We know our neighborhoods can make good change from the bottom up. 

Numerous mini-pantries can be found throughout the Cleveland area. These locations include:

  • Free Pantry Cleveland at 6516 Guthrie Avenue
  • Give Box Cleveland, at four locations: George Washington Carver Elementary School, 2200 East 55th Street; 888 East 222nd Street, Euclid; Cleveland Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, 8611 Hough Avenue; 15444 Lakeshore Boulevard
  • Little Free Pantry Cleveland Heights at Fairmount Presbyterian Church, 2757 Fairmount Boulevard
  • Little Free Pantry of Shaker at Heights Christian Church, Avalon and Daleford Avenues
  • Little Free Pantry of Shaker at Christ Episcopal, 3465 Warrensville Center Road
  • Little Food Pantry Take or Donate at Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 2780 Noble Road
  • Treadway Pantry at 2020 Treadway Avenue

To learn more about the mini-pantry movement, please visit www.littlefreepantry.org.