Little Free Pantries popping up in Tama County

Pantries built by GMG High School students

Tama County Extension’s Little Free Pantry located behind the Traer Public Library pictured on Thursday, June 23. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker
A sign placed on the front of Tama County Extension’s Little Free Pantry in Traer states, ‘Take what you need. Leave what you can.’ –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker
The Little Free Pantry in Traer had completely bare shelves on Thursday, June 23. Pantry contributions of nonperishable food items, hygiene products, and household items can be made at any time by placing the items inside the pantry or bringing items to the Extension office located in Toledo. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

Tama County ISU Extension and Outreach, along with several others, has been working this summer to place Little Free Pantries throughout the county. The pantries were built for this project by students in a construction class at GMG High School this past spring and are being stocked by local citizens.

Similar to a Little Free Library, a Little Free Pantry is a solution to immediate and local needs. Whether a need for food or a need to give, a Little Free Pantry facilitates feeding neighbors and nourishing neighborhoods. A Little Free Pantry is not meant to replace real resources for hungry people, but to meet a few immediate needs.

Contributions can be made at any time by placing them inside the pantry at the location nearest you or by bringing them to the Extension office. Items to contribute to Little Free Pantries include nonperishable food items such as cans, boxes, and bags of staple foods or snacks. Consider single-serving options and items that have pull-tab tops for easy access. Hygiene products and household items like sponges, laundry detergent, and wipes are also useful.

Host locations are behind the Traer Public Library at 531 Second Street in Traer, MICA office at 105 South State Street in Tama, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office at 203 W. High Street in Toledo.

Plans are being made to place a pantry in Garwin. A pantry has been in place in Gladbrook on the north side of the Lutheran church for a few years. Several other pantries are built and awaiting placement in the county.

Communities where pantries are still needed include Chelsea, Clutier, Dysart, Elberon, Lincoln, Montour, and Vining. If your family, neighborhood, group, church, or club would like to host a pantry, please contact Tama County Extension and Outreach at 641-484-2703.