As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, the first Little Free Pantry is now open and stocked with free food for anyone in need.
The small box, which is located near the entrance of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce on West Hancock Street, is the first of many pantries to come to town.
The pantry was the idea of one of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce’s current LEAD Athens teams, which is a program designed to develop effective local leaders devoted to building a vibrant community.
Their goal is to have 15 Little Free Pantries throughout Athens-Clarke County.
Doc Eldridge, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said the effort is a good way to highlight the work of businesses in the community.
This is showing what the business community does for our nonprofits,” Eldridge said. “So many of them depend on business community for board members and for financial help.”
As one of the organizers of the pantry system, Denise Plemmons said the team hopes to put up one new Little Free Pantry each week for the next few months.
“I don’t think it will be hard to keep them full, because we have a very giving community,” Plemmons said.
The project promotes the chamber’s theme this year, said Dean Mannheimer, chair of the chamber board.
“Our theme this year is ‘fostering a spirit of service,’” Mannheimer said. “Our goal is to serve our members and also to have our members serve the community.”
The first pantry is stocked for now, but everyone in the community is encouraged to donate items for it.
Things like toothpaste, shampoo and canned foods are among the items that donors can consider placing in the boxes.
Other pantries will be installed at the Athens Community Career Academy, 440 Dearing Extension; Ebenezer Baptist Church, 205 N. Chase St.; The ReBlossom Mama and Baby Shop, 220 N. Milledge Ave.; East Athens Community Center, 400 McKinley Drive; the Presbyterian Student Center, 1250 S. Lumpkin St., The Church at College Station, 1225 College Station Road and Extra Special People, 189 VFW Drive in Watkinsville.
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