Hope is an embrace of the unknown. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things you can know beforehand.
- Rebecca Solnit
This food pantry is all about neighbors supporting each other in small ways.
Take what you need,
Leave what you can.
"Be kind whenever possible."
- Dalai Lama
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before
starting to improve the world.”
- Anne Frank
Address food insecurity
in a creative way.
Make food available for
anyone who needs it.
Create more daily connections between people in our neighborhood.
Provide an easy way for neighbors to share their resources and prevent food waste.
The first pantry was made of wood, and was designed by ecomodern design studio. The current pantry is a blue metal cabinet with that has 4 large cubbies for food. We installed version 1.0 in October 2020 and it took us two weeks for Veronica to design and print all the signage on weatherproof vinyl and get the hardware we needed to install it outside. As soon as it was in use, we realized that people were using it, and stopping by to donate food and to take food home. We saw right away that this is something that people really needed.
We see the food pantry it as a practical way to share food, and also to rescue food that will go to waste. It's a way to share the harvest from local fruit trees in the area. Our neighbors bring persimmons, plums, lemons, figs and guavas when they are in season.
We have a pineapple guava tree that produces a ridiculous amount of guavas for 6 weeks from August to October. It feels wrong to us to leave food in a box on the ground. The food pantry is a tangible way to respect food and share it. Putting food on a shelf directly changes how people perceive the value and edibility of that food.
Thanksgiving and Christmas
We organized two food drives in our West Berkeley (Westbrae) neighborhood. All of our neighbors donate food and we introduce the project with a flier and an empty gift bag to be filled with shelf stable food. The response is fabulous! Lots of food!
Nov 2020 - May 2021
Bi-monthly grocery trips to get food for the pantry. Supporters from next door have donated to help us keep it stocked, along with the food donations from our immediate neighbors who are supportive of the food pantry.
We installed a Gratitude Message Board on the side of the food pantry for people to leave messages and express themselves and their needs.
We announce when we would be getting a bread delivery and when we would put out perishable food. We can mark on the board when it was left at the pantry so people know how fresh it is.
We began doing a weekly pickup at ACME Bakery on San Pablo in Berkeley. ACME donates 4 huge bags of bread which we re-package in bread bags to keep the bread clean and safe.
We upgraded our signage that faces the street (new wood, new vinyl stickers) and the roof over the pantry, so that rain does not get into the shelving and soak the food.
During a particularly violent rainstorm, our signage that faces the street was damaged. We plan to repair it because many people drop off food donations by car. There are always a few open parking spots right in front of it.
Changed the name to Little Free Food Pantry Berkeley. Bought domain name and printed cards to give to people in the park, with a map so they can find it. More food donations are coming in, in a steady way.
Painted the metal pantry! It needed a makeover after being outside for two and a half years. It looks really great! We are so grateful to Angel and his business partner for donating their time, labor and they even insisted on paying for the paint. They cleaned up the hedge that is behind the pantry and the strip of land that it's on. Outstanding.
Why did we start our own food bank?
We believe that a free food bank is a radical way to share wealth and resources. It is an example of how Gift Economics actually works, in the real world.
Everything that is dropped off goes home with someone who needs it.
As of June 2023, there is less abundance in our neighborhood now that food prices are so incredibly high. So there are less food donations coming in from neighbors who have the resources and time.
In order to be a reliable source of food, we are doing our best to connect with community groups and businesses that can donate food to us on a regular basis. ACME continues to support us and we are going to be picking up bread twice a week! (as of Sept 20, 2023)