By: Cathy Bolling, Island Post Staff Writer
Putting the Corporal Work of Mercy “Feed the Hungry” into action, St. John’s by the Sea Catholic Church in Klawock has started its own “Little Free Pantry.” The small, windowed cupboard was recently placed on the southeast corner of the church parking lot and is stocked with canned goods for anyone in need.
The pantry was created after a church parishioner read about the Little Free Pantry movement. Like the Little Free Library, these scaled-down food pantries are created by neighbors, groups or individuals and stocked with food and other items for those in need.
Little Free Libraries are found on the front lawns of private homes and other locations, where visitors can stop to pick up a book, or drop off a book.
The local parishioner, who asked to remain anonymous, said she thought the Little Free Pantry would be a good outreach project for her parish.
“It provides a little place for people to donate food that you can eat, out-of-hand, if you need to. There’s no paperwork. If you need it, take it. When you get on your feet again, give some back.”
Parishioners Michael Cleary and Terry Mackey created the cupboard and stand. Mackey made the sturdy base out of concrete blocks and yellow cedar. Cleary made the pantry out of thick, water-resistant plywood, 30-pound felt and hand-cut shingles from South Thorne Bay, coated with Sikkens water-repellant wood stain. The shelves are made from Douglas Fir plywood and the custom built red cedar door has a plexiglass window. The pantry measures about three feet tall and two feet deep and wide. The door faces north, not south, to avoid the weather.
Parishioners will keep the pantry stocked, but anyone may add to it. Anyone placing items in the pantry is asked to consider the elements. Although the pantry was built to withstand wind and rain, it is not heated. Items could get damp and in colder weather items could freeze and expand.
Examples of suitable pantry items, in fairer weather, are canned goods, tamper-resistant items, instant foods, sauces, kids lunch items, paper products and women’s feminine products.
Anyone needing food is welcome to take from the pantry, in the hope that in the future, if they are able, they can replenish what they have taken for someone else to use, said Fr. Edmund Penisten, pastor.
A sign will soon be posted on the pantry for passersby to see.
For more information about the Little Free Pantry movement, visit littlefreepantry.org.