by Beth Triplett
“Take what you need; give what you can.” It’s the operating principle behind the Little Free Pantries – a national network of free-standing distribution sites for food, hygiene products, and household needs. While many organizations work to address food insecurity and provide prepared meals and food resources, the pantries serve as a grassroots way to address immediate needs and provide local, 24/7 access to food.
Dubuque recently increased its involvement in the effort when ten decommissioned Telegraph Herald newspaper boxes were converted into pantries and located throughout the city. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque coordinated volunteers to remove the interior mechanisms, and Triple J Liquidation donated materials to build shelves and get the boxes ready for their new owners, who were then responsible for painting and maintaining it as a pantry on their property. The repurposing of the boxes allowed Dubuque to almost double the number of pantries serving those in need, and made it possible for people without the capacity to build a pantry to host one.
One couple, Chase and Matt Cornwall, received a converted newspaper box and now oversee a pantry at their home on Garfield Avenue. Currently, the Cornwalls rely on family, friends, and neighbors for donations and then apportion items to the pantry.
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