Little Free Pantry Taking Care of Westborough Residents Experiencing Food Insecurity

Stephanie Hogan '23, Contributing Writer

As a result of the pandemic, the food insecurity rate has increased tremendously in the United States as many were unemployed throughout 2020. In 2020-2021 upwards of 40 million people still suffer from food insecurity.

Throughout 2020-2021, In Your Shoes, a Westborough based non-profit organization that serves the local community, along with the Appalachia Service Project, a mission trip based out of St. Lukes and the First United Methodist Church, hosted upwards of five food drives to help stock the Westborough Food Pantry.

During the food drives, the group encountered a man who forever changed how they looked at conquering food insecurity in Westborough.

Co-Founder of In Your Shoes Terry Gavin shares, “During the In Your Shoes food drive, back in May 2020, an older gentleman passing by, approached the volunteers as they were unloading the food onto the front yard of the food pantry and indicated he needed food. Although the man was not registered through the food pantry. And really, it was at that moment, that we wondered if a Little Free Pantry–with food available 24/7 as well as a community resource list–would be helpful to those in the community who need food and resources and don’t know about the food pantry.”

The Little Free Pantry began it’s trial run in June 2021 through the end of August. This was done to see how effective the pantry would be while providing an opportunity to work out all the kinks and improve the way the LFP is run.

The trial lasted the whole summer and was conducted by a small group of dedicated volunteers who oversaw the pantry during the trial run.

Officially opened in September 2021, the group took the observations from the trial run and implemented them.

Gavin, Presidnt of In Your Shoes, says they noticed “personal care items and home products are the most popular.”

She adds, “We’ve received many thank you notes and suggestions.”

Those little notes of appreciation have shown the great impact this group has had on the community thus far.

Located in the parking lot of St. Stephens church, the Little Free Pantry is open 24/7 to anyone in need. Stocked with non-perishables and personal care, take what you need and leave what you can.

If your looking to get involved with the Little Free Pantry click this link to sign up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f054caac2e5-looking

This link will direct you how to sign-up and what dates are available. They have training for volunteers as well as if you would like to be a steward. Stewards are another pair of eyes checking in on the LFP to make sure everything is going well that day.