All around Nashville you can find places that give out food boxes. These food boxes are to help people who live in camps, on the streets, and even to those who have food stamps and need a little extra food to help them until their stamps come on their cards.
Most of these food banks only serve their zip codes, and you can only get three pre-packed boxes a year and three emergency boxes a year. In these boxes you may get something you won’t use or eat. Upon receiving these food boxes, you must show proof of address, a Social Security card for everyone in the household, plus IDs and sometimes even birth certificates.
Well, let me tell you, I found a place that doesn’t care how many people live in your home. No ID required or even proof of income. They don’t care what zip code you live in.
This place is called the Little Pantry.
The Little Pantry was opened in 2010 by a lady named Stacy. Stacy designed the pantry to look like a grocery store. You are able to shop and get the items you need and you can come every Saturday, no questions asked.
At the Pantry, no ID, Social Security card, proof of address, etc., areneeded. There, everyone is treated equally no matter income, family size, if you live in a camp or in a house.
When you shop at the pantry, you have a volunteer that shops with you, holds your bags for you. When you are done shopping, your bags are passed on to someone who will carry your bags to your car or bus stop. If you walked, a volunteer will carry your stuff to your home. How awesome is that? And what’s so great about the Little Pantry is that you are treated as family.
Every Friday, food is delivered. After the food is brought in, everything is gone through and put up. There are also fresh veggies that are brought in. These veggies are taken out of their boxes and put into plastic crates. The fruit is put together. All the bad is thrown away; only the good is kept. When we start on Fridays, there is nothing on the shelves; they are bare at the end of the day. The shelves are stocked and ready for Saturday morning shoppers.
On Saturday, there is a few deliveries as well. Shopping usually starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. However, if more people show up and there is food left, Stacy will let them shop as well.
The Little Pantry is a non-profit organization. All the food is donated. They are not government-funded. Volunteers are welcome and needed. They are opened every Saturday. I’ve even seen one of my customers Eric and his daughter this past Saturday. I was there Friday and Saturday as a volunteer. It felt good to give back or, as people say, paying it forward.
If you would like to pay it forward, the Little Pantry is a great place to go. Thanks, Stacy, for all you do to help people in need.
Mary B. is a formerly homeless vendor of The Contributor.