Little Free Pantry Helps Ease Food Insecurity

“Take a book, leave a book,” is the premise behind the Little Free Library concept.

But one little girl, who was returning a book she borrowed to a local Little Free Library, saw an even greater possibility.

“Wouldn’t it be great if there were things like this with food in them?” Annabelle, 7, told her mom.

Annabelle’s mom, Heather Spangler, got to work right away to see her daughter’s vision become a reality.

With the help of the Hiawatha Public Library, Home Depot, Hy-Vee, the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, and the Northeast Cedar Rapids Mom’s Club, four Little Free Pantries recently opened, with the intent to ease food security in those communities.

But this was not the first time Annabelle had come up with an idea to help others in need.

Annabelle was only 4 when she opened her Christmas presents and observed, “Mom, we have so many toys and there are kids who don’t have enough.”

Annabelle reached out to her friends, gathered the toys they no longer played with, and then donated to kids in need.

Heather saw the joy helping others brought to her little girl, and her friends, and created Kid-Powered Kindness, a Facebook page dedicated to spreading acts of kindness. Every year since, Heather, Annabelle, and their friends have completed a new project that benefits the community in some way.

According to Heather, Kid Powered Kindness is driven by the philosophy that kids can make the world a better place.

“The kids are the ones who come up with the projects,” said Heather. “I just help them figure out how to do it.”

Projects Kid Powered Kindness has completed include collecting books to promote literacy and collecting items that help the Humane Society care for animals in need of adoption.

According to Hy-Vee’s communications director, Kristy Stake, Hy-Vee donates $5 million annual to help those with food insecurity, and plans on continuing to help stock the pantries at their locations.

Hiawatha’s mayor, Bill Bennett, who was also on hand to help dedicate the Little Free Pantry, said he was amazed that a little girl can make such a difference in her community.

“She saw a need in the community and did something about it,” he said. “We could all learn something from her. “Every step we take is a step closer to making things better, for everyone.”

Donations for the Little Free Pantry are always welcome and appreciated.

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Write to the Point

As a writer, I have been conditioned to always be on the lookout for the next great story. But what I have found out, is that they are all great stories.

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