Little Sunshine Pantries
We are locals of Tallahassee, Florida Nathan & Ashley Pugh. We moved in 2020 within the city but that short distance showed us that there are two different sides to our city. We learned through other organizations already working in the community that some neighborhoods experience food insecurity rates as high as 50%, which includes thousands of children. These realizations and our own encounters with neighbors seeking various resources led us to put a food pantry outside our home near our mailbox. It is modeled similarly to a free book library but with non-perishable food. Within a couple of months, we realized how many people were using the pantry and we knew we couldn’t continue to distribute food on our own.
So the idea for Little Sunshine Pantries was born. Instead of a wooden structure, we thought of using recycled newspaper stands. From there, we proceeded to contact local newspapers within driving distance, to see if they had any available. We were able to get some from our local newspaper and another one in Jackson County. Nathan designed the insides to have the ability to hold food instead of newspapers. We then called on the generosity and talent of local artists and the community, to help us paint and decorate the exterior. Not only do the pantries serve as something aesthetically enjoyable, but also a way to raise awareness about the poverty rates our neighbors are facing. We now have 19 pantries placed at bus stops in high food insecure areas and partners who have adopted a pantry outside their home or business. Other volunteer groups help us fill the ones at the bus stops to ensure a level of consistency. All pantries that have been provided are free, as our motto is
Anyone can fill a pantry anytime, which we hope brings more people to engage with their neighbors. The items we have found helpful are non-perishable snack items, such as granola bars, peanut butter crackers, pop-top canned meals or easy-to-microwave meals, fruit cups, trail mix, as well as, hygiene products, and other household supplies. We are always looking for more partners seeking to serve and better their community by adopting a pantry to keep stocked or donating directly to us. We constantly need food donations as our pantries are usually emptied within hours of being filled. You can find out more on our website www.littlesunshinpantries.com and through our Instagram and Facebook @sunshine_pantries. You can also find a link to an interactive map that will show the location of all the pantries. Food has been the bridge to meeting and loving neighbors, to show compassion and understanding. We’ve learned we can’t do it alone.