Eastlake’s First Little Free Pantry

Like its cousin, the Little Free Library, the Little Free Pantry is starting to show up in neighborhoods around the country. The greater Pacific Northwest has over 150, and now there’s one more and a first for Eastlake – on Franklin Ave., just north of Newton St.

This Little Free Pantry was spearheaded by Eastlaker Marilyn Smith (no relation to this story’s reporter). She couldn’t remember where she first heard about them, but the concept appealed to her and seemed like a good use of her first stimulus check. She contacted the lead of Little Free Pantries for our region, Molly Harmon. “Would a Little Free Pantry be useful in a relatively well-off neighborhood like Eastlake?” she wondered. “You’d be surprised,” said Harmon.

That was enough to get her going. She posted her plans and information about it on the Eastlake Social Club Facebook site to gauge neighborhood support. It got a huge and encouraging response with nearly 20 people commenting that they’d help.

“Now’s your chance,” she says. The goal is for a lot of people to fill and care for the pantry as they pass by.

It just opened Wednesday, March 10, so is, for the moment, quite full. But it is listed on the online map of pantries around Seattle, and Harmon told Smith, “Just wait.”

The concept is simple, like the Little Free Library, it is open to anyone. That could be a hungry passerby who’d like a granola bar or fruit cup to the folks who need fixings for a full meal.

What if someone takes everything in the pantry? “That’s okay, too,” says Smith. “If they need it, they’re welcome to it.”

There are operating instructions listed on the window and advice for both givers and takers: “Give what you would want to receive. An easy rule of thumb: buy extra of what you buy for your household.” And “If you find items inside and you need them, take them and know we care about you.”

“You can take what you like. Replenish if you can. Don’t worry if you can’t. It’s a neighborhood food pantry,” Smith adds. “Appreciate and enjoy it!”

Operating instructions on the window of Eastlake’s Little Free Pantry.

Written by Judy Smith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings


Fairview Bridge opening delayed until Summer

Future sustainability blends with Lake Union’s historical past