To assist residents who may be financially insecure because of COVID-19 restrictions, several local Little Free Libraries have temporarily converted into Little Free Food Pantries.

Organizer Kristen Lionelle and numerous volunteers have helped alter the libraries’ focus. Lionelle said, to her knowledge, five of the area’s eight Little Free Libraries are currently running as food pantries. She said she informed library owners Sara Ward and Marilyn Bouldin about the idea, and within an hour their setups were changed.

Little Free Library patrons are expected to leave a book if they take one, but pantry patrons are not expected to leave anything if they are truly in need. Donors can give whatever they are able to. Any donated food should be nonperishable.

Packaging for all donated food is sanitized regularly. Sanitizing wipes are also available inside the pantries.

Although not yet an official nationwide movement, Lionelle said she was inspired after reading articles about Little Free Libraries in Illinois and Massachusetts making similar transitions.

As of Friday, she had been checking the stock of all the pantries every day for four days, although she is now asking pantry owners to check as well. Anyone wanting to help with filling pantries should message her directly on Facebook.

Pantry organizers are expecting Don’t Go Nuts to donate several of its snack bars to pantries in the near future.

Participating Little Free Food Pantries can be found at the following locations:

  • KHEN radio station, 124 E. Third St.
  • 224 Fifth St.
  • 1040 F St.; food can be placed in the cooler on the side.
  • Entrance of Cochetopa Estates.
  • Chipeta Avenue and Antero Street in Poncha Springs.

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