Think of it like a Food Library.
We created a free standing food pantry that is open 24 hours a day. It's an easy way for the people in our neighborhood to share extra food with each other. It's a lot like a Little Free Library, where people are invited to give food to share, and take what they need.
50 people interact with it every day and we restock it three times a day. We leave water and sandwiches at night. We stock it with cereal and bars in the morning. All the food cycles through it every day. It's actually kind astounding to us how much food is cycled through every week through this little pantry.
We usually have food for 1 week to bring out every day. We are currently open to partnering with local businesses who donate food at the end of the day. We receive LOTS of bread from ACME on Wednesdays, and foccacia and cheese rolls and pizza from Arizmendi on Sundays. Everyone loves these local fresh treats which would have just ended up in the garbage, which honestly is a tragedy. This food must never be wasted!!! (We love food)
The pantry is lovingly cared for and cleaned every day. There are days that it is close to empty, so our neighbors notice that and bring food by from their own kitchens and pantries. It's anonymous, so anyone who needs food can come by not feel the stigma of going to a food bank.
Our neighbors drop food by every day. This morning when I went out to stock it, it was full of food that was not there last night. It's truly magical that way. I buy food with cash donations that we receive from supporters who are from Berkeley, live in Berkeley or have family here.
We pick up ACME bread from the bakery every Wednesday and all of this goes to the food pantry and directly to people who need food. It's amazing!
thank you so, so much!
Supporters of the
Rose Street Food Pantry
Pros about running a hyper local a food pantry
It is for everyone. You do not have to show ID or make an appointment.
Sometimes we find things in the pantry that we take home! It is for food sharing, and resouce just like a library. Every Wednesday we pick up 40-50 loaves of ACME bread and all of it has been distributed to our neighborhood by the next day. All of that gorgeous bread would have just gone to waste!!
During the pandemic, we have used it as a hub to give away 500 N95 masks, 300 pairs of black cotton socks, and tons of self care supplies.
By doing this project we have met so many of our neighbors. It continues to be a point of connection. Everyone uses it! It is set up is a way that we are all responsible for it.
And the best part: there is now a daily exchange of generosity on our street because of the pantry. It really feels like it has a life of it's own and I love that people who need it, can really rely on it. We have been getting messages on our message board that tell us that some folks really are counting on it and appreciate that it's there.