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“Give what you can. Take what you need,” Little Free Pantries!

Submitted By Jessica B. Shealy & Mary Alex Kopp

Building a stronger tomorrow; that’s part of the Newberry County Young Professionals’ mission. As a professional organization, we understand the importance of building strong relationships that enhance the lives of all Newberrians. Improving the quality of life for people within our community allows Newberry to grow, helps neighbors build relationships, and activates their involvement.

As part of activating involvement, Newberry County Young Professionals operates different opportunities for philanthropy, including Little Free Pantries. With the motto, “Give what you can. Take what you need,” this form of philanthropy is a movement. It is a small step to help initiate community engagement that seeks to promote an end to food and basic need insecurities in Newberry County. Open to all, the pantries provide a small but immediate solution to some of the needs within our community. Whether it is a need for necessities or a need to give, Little Free Pantry can provide.

The Newberry County Young Professionals have partnered with numerous people and organizations to bring Free Little Pantries to Newberry County neighborhoods in need. Partnerships with Summer Memorial Lutheran Church, the City of Newberry, Cam Kasten, an Eagle Scout with Troop 316, City Councilman David Force, Gene Shealy, Robert Kopp of Thrivent, the Newberry County Career Center’s Carpentry Class, City Councilwoman Jackie Holmes, O’Neal Street Church and numerous silent sponsors have established two Little Free Pantries, with a third one to be placed this year.

In 2021, following the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic, our former Board Member, Jessica B. Shealy, recognized a need in the community for access to basic items. With the support of the Newberry County Young Professionals, Little Free Pantries became our second philanthropy effort that focuses on specific needs within the community. We realized that food and necessities insecurities don’t just affect Newberry’s children or seniors; it affects all ages. The Little Free Pantry movement seeks to assist in solving basic insecurities while allowing the community to give back to the neighborhoods they call home.

The Little Free Pantries are within the City of Newberry at Summer Memorial Lutheran Church on Milligan Street, Dr. Grant Park on Vincent Street, with a third set to be installed at O’Neal Street Church on O’Neal Street. Each Little Free Pantry can house non-perishable food items, individually wrapped paper products, non-combustible hygiene products and toiletries, crayons, coloring books, reading books, school supplies, and more. Items can be taken and donated directly to the Little Free Pantry of your choice throughout the community at any time.

We recognize meeting the needs of our community allows us to grow stronger. Little Free Pantries can be a piece of a greater solution. We are taking the steps necessary to ensure that everyone in our community has access to food and necessities. If you’re interested in sponsoring the construction and placement of additional Little Free Pantries, contact us, the Newberry County Young Professionals, at Support will be used in the upkeep and stocking of the Little Free Pantries as needed.

The Little Free Pantry movement allows us to contribute to a community that doesn’t worry about where their next meal is or how to afford hygiene products or other basic goods. It helps us to build a community that supports each other. It shows us how to be a community that understands that we are better together. Little Free Pantries allow us to support each other and build a stronger tomorrow.

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