Little Free Libraries turn into Little Free Pantries during COVID-19 outbreak

U.S. & World

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People are looking for meaningful ways to give back during the COVID-19 outbreak.

A Sauk Rapids family found an easy, actionable way to help. They replaced the books in their Little Free Library with food. It’s their way to spread the love – and it’s a movement that’s starting to take off.

Someone shared the idea with Mindy Thomes on Facebook. Soon, she and her parents traded out the books in each of their libraries for non-perishable goods.

“We wanted just to find a way that we can give to our community and find a way that people don’t necessarily have to ask for help,” Thomes said.

The note on the door says, “Take what you need, save some for others, donate, help and spread the love.”

“We know that it can be a real struggle for those families out there, especially if they don’t have work right now, and so we just wanted to make sure that we could help supply a little bit of supplies that’s something that they need,” Thomes said.

They’ve been able to watch from the window, see people drop off donations and come in search of a helping hand. It’s touched the Thomes family.

“It just feels good to know that our community is utilizing this resource, and that we are able to help provide a little bit of comfort for them,” Thomes said.

Her kids help stock the pantry and keep it in order. It’s a lesson in kindness.

“I keep saying, ‘We may not have it all, but we give what we do.’ For them to know that there are others out there that are struggling, we want them to know that and have a giving heart,” Thomes said.

Little Free Libraries across the metro have started to turn into pantries. And it’s also taken off across the country, as people are sharing their locations on social media.

“It’s all about spreading the love, and this world can use more love. If we just help out a little bit here and there, we can go far in this world,” Thomes said.

There’s no set way yet to know if all of Little Free Libraries that have been transformed. But next time you pass one while out for a walk, peek in. It’s there if you’re in need. They also take contributions if you’re in a position to help.

To find a Little Free Pantry near you, click here.

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