Little Free Pantry

Charitable idea brings community together.
L to R: Cedar Lucero, Vanessa Fasching, Jenna Peterson, Reagan Gamades, Sydney Boeckers and Justine Meyers, Not shown: Zoey Myers

Situated outside of the Moravian Church, the Little Free Pantry in Chaska, established and maintained by Girl Scout Troop No. 15554, has been projecting warmth to people in the neighborhood.
 
The gist of the program is similar to communities’ Little Free Libraries, which encourage residences to drop off books to share and take a book or two for their own reading pleasure.

An idea that came from a brainstorming session within the troop, the pantry aims to provide people in need with daily necessities, such as staple food items and other commodities.

“One of the girls found the little pantry idea online,” Stephanie Boeckers, one of the leaders of the troop, says. “The original one is in Arkansas.”

The idea gained immediate and unanimous approval. Boeckers feels it is easy to overlook the fact that a lot of people right in this community are struggling. To note, some children receive their best or only meal through breakfast or lunch provided at school. “It was a mutual agreement we felt that no child should be hungry,” Boeckers says. She also views the free pantry idea as a complement to existing efforts to deal with poverty, as the pantry is open all the time and clients can take up to two meals.
 
Once the idea was confirmed, the troop started to gather the materials needed for building the pantry. A troop member’s father, Nick Sasching, spearheaded the building project. A bingo night later brought the Girl Scout community together to donate nonperishable goods, officially kick-starting the pantry project. “The community has been so amazing,” Boeckers says, noting how continued investment from the neighborhood ensures a steady inflow of goods.

Original concerns of vandalism and people taking more than is needed are no longer an issue. “It is important, and it brings the community together,” Boeckers says.