Illustration by Claudia Cardia
Love in the Time of Quarantine is a video series that spotlights solidarity around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, we look at big things in “little” packages.
You may have seen the viral news about Italy’s solidarity baskets. As the country was struggling through one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, residents of Naples began lowering baskets from their balconies filled with food for those in need. The idea was simple: “Those who can, put something in; those who can’t, help yourself.”
But you may not have seen the similar acts of individual charity that have been quietly taking place elsewhere during these times of economic uncertainty.
Around the world, people have been creating and stocking Little Free Pantries, filling them with food as well as masks, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other essential items for anyone who needs them.
The concept of the Little Free Pantry isn’t new. It spun off from the popular Little Free Library movement around 2016 and aims to address food insecurity. Like the libraries, which are small, watertight boxes filled with books, anyone can take from or contribute to a Little Free Pantry.
But lately, the Little Free Pantry movement has expanded. Stewards of Little Free Libraries have begun converting their boxes into pantries, hoping to provide some relief to essential workers as well as neighbors facing food insecurity these days. The Little Free Library organization has even mapped the converted sharing boxes. You can find them all over the United States and Canada, and there are also a few in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, India, and, of course, Italy.
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It may seem like a small gesture, but sometimes big things really do come in little boxes.
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