WESTBOROUGH – On the grounds of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church off John Street is charity at its most basic.
There stands a Free Little Pantry where people can make donations and those who need food or other products may take it.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s been a year since the Little Free Pantry opened, and organizers are happy with the way the pantry has become part of the community.
“It’s not just connecting with neighbors, it’s helping those with immediate needs,” said Laura Home, who helped start up the pantry with Terry Gavin, a member of In Your Shoes, the pantry’s “parent” organization.
“The word’s getting out that it’s becoming a community resource,” added Home.
The Little Free Pantry offers nonperishable food items, along with personal care products.
“It’s take what you need, leave what you can,” said Home.
She added that popular items taken from the Little Free Pantry include diapers, soups, canned meats and rice, along with laundry detergent, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
A group of volunteer stewards makes sure that the shelves are stocked and free from out-of-date or damaged items.
“We could not have done this without them,” said Home.
In addition to the items, the pantry includes information on community resources, such as the Westborough Food Pantry, for those who need more longterm assistance.
Home said the idea for the Little Free Pantry came in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, when local food pantries had to close or limit their hours.
Home and Gavin learned about the program from other communities, and Medford in particular where “they really have a comprehensive network,” said Home.
“The [Westborough] Food Pantry has limited hours, so let’s make the Little Free Pantry available,” said Gavin of the decision to move forward with the program.
After some discussion, the Little Free Pantry opened its little doors on Sept. 12, 2021.
Home said she likes that anyone can donate to the pantry.
“It’s a great project for little ones,” she said. “A 4-year-old can drop off a can of food.”
Thanks to plenty of outreach opportunities, including the town’s annual July 4 block party, Home said there’s been a lot of donors.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Westborough Police and Fire departments will hold a food drive; personnel will be at both the Stop & Shop on Lyman Street and Roche Bros. at 1100 Union St.
“Their supply really helped us last year,” said Home.
More information about the Little Free Pantry may be found at the In Your Shoes website, https://inyourshoeswestborough.com/little-free-pantry, or its Facebook page.
Those interested in volunteering or wanting more information may email [email protected].