Little Free Pantry is a new community project headed by Rene’ Stansbury of the Heathy Iberia Coalition. Rene’s vision is to provide a vehicle for “neighbors to help neighbors” via a free community pantry. This is very similar to the free community libraries that you find, where one can leave a book or take a book, except with healthy food options. The pantries will run on the “honor system.” If you’re able to contribute, leave donation items including healthful food options, hygiene items and paper goods. If a family is in need they can take what they need to supplement food sourcing.
The Little Free Pantry project was funded by community sponsorships, and grants from The Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition and Well Ahead Louisiana in a joint partnership with The United Way of Iberia to provide funding for purchase materials. Construction of the pantries was donated by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office and Iberia Parish Correctional Center. The pantries were then colorfully painted by students at Westgate High School and New Iberia. Utilizing the talents of students was important to Rene’ to instill community involvement and responsibility over the pantry units.
Little Free Pantry presently has 16-18 pantries. They are built like boxes with plexi-glass doors and contain several cubbies inside. Each pantry will have a list of requested food items. These will be mounted on four foot tall poles and cemented into the ground. Thus far, plans are to place a pantry at both Iberia Parish Library sites, the Iberia Parish Sheriff Department on Iberia Street, and in New Iberia Pocket Park on Santiago street. The coalition is seeking additional business and families to sponsor physical locations for pantries. Once the pantries are physically placed (the goal is sometime this summer,) Little Free Pantry will develop a site map showing all the locations and publish on their Healthy Iberia Coalition Facebook page and other prominent areas of the community.
The Healthy Iberia Coalition, led by Rene’ Stansbury, is a coalition of community volunteers, individuals, and regional agencies, together with a mission “to improve the health and quality of life of Iberia Parish residents by mobilizing through community policy, systems, and environmental changes.”
If you would like to sponsor a pantry location, volunteer to oversee an individual pantry’s inventory needs, or donate non-perishable foods, hygiene items or paper goods, please visit https://www.facebook.com/healthyiberia or contact Rene’ Stansbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.