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Seattle-Area Families Support Their Neighbors and Spread Kindness During Quarantine

From teddy bears to snack pantries, five inspiring family stories

Published on: April 20, 2020

Seattle-Area Families Support Their Neighbors and Spread Kindness During Quarantine

little free pantry seattle area neighbors helping each other during quarantine
A Little Free Library in Magnolia switched from books to non-perishable food items during COVID-19. Photo credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Little Free Pantries

In the current pandemic, some Little Free Libraries are switching from books to non-perishable food. In the case of the Little Free Pantry in front of Northlake Lutheran Church in Kenmore, it was a pantry from the beginning, but one inspired by the libraries.
The tri-level cabinet with French doors was installed last October, and initially, Pastor Anja Helmon would keep an eye on it. If she noticed supplies running low, she’d post a picture on Facebook, and within a day it’d be stuffed full.

free pantry
Photo credit: Anja Helmon

Since the quarantine started, however, most of her small congregation has been worshipping online from home. Now it’s up to neighbors to keep the pantry stocked.

“Right now it’s 100 percent cared for by people in the neighborhood who come by and keep it going,” Helmon said. “It’s really meant to be something that’s owned by the community.”
Here’s how it works: If you need something, take it. If you have something to share, contribute. Simple as that. The Little Free Pantry is constantly filled and emptied. People leave canned goods, and also can openers, toiletries, even encouraging notes.
“There are so many people who want to help in some way,” Helmon said. “You go out grocery shopping, it’s just easy to pick up a few items and drop it off. It’s been a huge success. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.”

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