You may have seen those “little free library” boxes, where neighbors can take and leave books they no longer want, but now they don’t just have books in them: New boxes are stocked with free food and care items like toothbrushes and diapers for people in need. One women, Maggie Ballard, who lives in Wichita, Kansas, started one in her neighborhood.
She calls it a “blessing box,” which she restocks with her son, stating in NPR:
“I felt like this is something that I could do — something small that you know, would benefit so many people so long as the word got out about it.
My son is 6 years old, so it gives him a little chore to kind of watch it and see what comes and goes and who comes and goes, and maybe learn a little lesson from it.”
Naturally, there isn’t a lock on it, which allows anyone to take what they need 24-7. Ballard was providing all of the food and goods initially, but then she started accepting donations. This idea, creating a free food pantry available at all hours, isn’t just happening in Kansas. It’s been all over social media, which means many food pantries have sprung up across the country, in states like Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, and Minnesota.
The original idea, as of now, points to Jessica McClard, who created the “little free pantry” in northwest Arkansas. McClard described what her pantry is like:
“The products that are stocked are put directly inside the pantry and turnover is in about 30 to 45 minutes. The frequency of the turnover and the fact that other sites in town are also turning over that frequently, it suggests to me that the need is tremendous.
Most of the traffic is in the middle of the night, I would say between midnight and 7 in the morning.”
It’s small acts of kindness like these that help strengthen our communities, and also allow us to see what truly matters in life.