Buchanan residents help to create little food pantry

Published 9:10 am Friday, December 7, 2018

BUCHANAN — Across Berrien and Cass counties, Little Free Libraries have been popping up, allowing people to donate unwanted books or pick up books to read.

In Buchanan, one resident has been determined to offer a similar concept, only in the form a free miniature food pantry.

Ashley Hanson said she saw the idea on Facebook and felt it was something that needed to be brought to her Buchanan community.

“We do have some food insecurity in Buchanan,” Hanson said. “We have lots of great programs. This is just to add to the other programs we have in the community.”

Hanson credits her husband Andy for helping her to build and bring the Live Here, Give Here …Little Free Pantry to fruition. The pantry is located on the south side of the Buchanan Masonic Lodge, 122 S. Oak St. and was installed the week of Thanksgiving. Inside the little pantry there are non-perishable goods, as well as toiletries, diapers, gloves and hats.

Hanson encouraged community members to make use of the pantry whether taking or donating goods.

“I have definitely been able to tell that things are flowing,” Hanson said. “Things are going out and new things have been coming in.”

Hanson is a paraprofessional at Ottawa Elementary School. Through her job, she said she has noticed the need for a concept like the food pantry.

While there are several programs in the area that provide food to those in need, such as the Redbud Area Ministries, Hanson said some programs have qualification that people have to meet to use their services.

“Quite frankly, there are lots of families that fall in this window, where you don’t qualify for RAM, but you can’t get by from week to week,” Hanson said. “That is actually a large group of people in our community.”

In the months to come, Hanson said she hopes to see organizations or people inspired to adopt the pantry for a time period and keep it stocked. Those looking to donate can bring items directly to the pantry or drop them off at city hall, 302 Redbud Trail. 

Hanson said she hopes the pantry helps to emphasize that the Buchanan community cares about its residents.

“I hope it can provide people with a little bit of security to know that if they need something it might be there,” Hanson said.

Hanson hopes to eventually attach a board of information to the pantry, listing resources where residents can get help with food and other basic needs. She also wants to approach Buchanan Township with the hopes of potentially setting up a pantry in the area.

With many fellow Buchanan residents stepping up to give to their neighbors, Hanson said she has continued to feel inspired to help others.

“People are so helpful and nice. … How can you not want to follow suit?” Hanson said.

Those interested in learning more about the pantry can visit the pantry’s Facebook page.