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Free Little Pantry helps feed those in need

Students at Scintilla Charter Academy build a free little pantry to help feed those in need
Students at Scintilla Charter Academy build a free little pantry to help feed those in need(WCTV)
Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 11:01 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -A little pantry in downtown Valdosta is bringing a big help for people in need.

The Free Little Pantry is located on Central Avenue in downtown Valdosta. It was created by students at Scintilla Charter Academy as a way to participate in its annual Better World Day.

"In 2018 they landed on food insecurity as something they were worried about, making sure that everyone had enough to eat," said Jennifer Denham with Scintilla. "Our older kids in the fifth grade came up with the idea for the Little Free Pantry."

Two years and a global pandemic later, some community groups say the need for food is greater than ever.

"Since this coronavirus pandemic started many of the agencies and organizations that did distribute food were actually shut down for awhile. Our local soup kitchen was closed for several months, this is one of the only resources right here that were available to come and get food," said Alonzo Atkins, founder of Project Rescue Outreach Ministries. "Many people right now are out of work, don't have jobs, incomes are very low. A lot of the agencies that were distributing food, right now it's hard for them as well, as well as our agency. It's hard right now."

The idea of the pantry is to take what you need, and give what you can. Volunteers help keep it stocked with non-perishable food items and toiletries.

Denham says the still collect food items at the Scintilla for students to stay involved in the project.

"I've seen some of the kids come down here and it's a great joy for them as they come, the smiles on their faces when they come put the food in the box," Atkins said.

As COVID continues to challenge communities, a second pantry was set up downtown Valdosta to help meet the growing need for food resources.

"You don't have to be embarrassed to go to that pantry. If you're embarrassed to ask for help or you're not sure where to go to ask for help, there's something that you can go to, that is there for you," Denham said. "Then maybe later you can add something back to it at another time."

Atkins says he hopes pantries like this spread to more communities to reach a greater need.

Organizers say for those looking to help, it’s helpful for cans to have pop tops so they can be opened without access to a can opener.

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