People’s Pantry Cincy has applied the Little Libraries concept to food. Instead of offering books in street-corner cubbies, this project provides edibles.
The brainchild of Lisa Andrews, a registered dietitian, the mini food pantries are located in 10 low-income or food-desert neighborhoods. Artists were commissioned to design and paint old single-copy newspaper boxes previously used by the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Herald. Neighborhood “champions” volunteer to monitor each box and engage their communities for donations of toiletries and nonperishable food items.
“As a dietitian, I’ve always believed that no one should go hungry,” said Andrews. “We have an abundance of food, yet so many people are suffering from food insecurity, especially in Cincinnati. After seeing a video on Facebook about a woman that started a Lil Pantry in Arkansas, I was inspired to try it here.”
Her first pantry in Pleasant Ridge flourished, so she decided to expand the concept and add the artistic flair. She received a People’s Liberty grant, and friends Mary Seguin, Sean Mullaney and Jason Beidleman offered assistance.
The People’s Pantries are located in East Price Hill, near Imago Garden; Millvale, Youthland Academy Beekman; North Fairmount, North Fairmount Community Center; Northside, Chase Elementary School; Over-The-Rhine, River of Life Church; Walnut Hills, Cincinnati Church of the Brethren; Walnut Hills, Church of the Advent; West End, 478 Dayton St.; Winton Hills, Winton Hills Community Center; and Camp Washington, 2873 Colerain Ave.