First Baptist Church in Corbin is expanding its food pantry, a little.
Near the door to the food pantry, church members have installed a “Little Free Pantry.”
The two-shelf cabinet contains an assortment of canned goods, non-perishable food and toiletry items available to those in need.
“We want people to feel free to take what they need,” said Pastor Austin Carty explaining the goal is to assist those who need a little help.
Carty said the idea began in the church’s Young Adult Sunday School Class led by Larry and Mary Ida Gray. Todd and Alice Tremaine, who had heard about it from friends in another part of the country, brought the idea before the class.
“Everybody got really excited,” Carty said.
Darrell Tremaine was tasked with building the two-shelf cabinet and it was installed near the food pantry at the corner of Roy Kidd Ave. and North Bell Ave. on March 4.
Members of the church have brought items to place in the pantry.
Officials from the church ensure there are items in the pantry, but Carty said there is no close oversight as to what exactly is in there at any given time.
“It is about whatever you feel led to leave,” Carty said.
Carty added that while the adults have begun the project, he has seen it resonate with the younger members of the congregation, including his own three-year-old daughter.
“She has been really energized by this project,” Carty said of his daughter. “Whenever we drive by, she asked whether it is stocked. When we are at the grocery, she asks about getting something for the pantry. That means a lot to me as a father.”
“We try to emphasize the importance of budgeting, giving and saving,” Carty said. “Through this project, she is realizing the importance of giving.”
Carty said it is also tan opportunity for the community to give back explaining anyone who has suitable items is welcome and encouraged to place them in the pantry.
Carty said that a similar invitation to take from the pantry is extended to anyone in need.
“There is no real policy and procedure manual,” Carty said. “The goal is to offer assistance to families or individuals that are hungry and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
Carty said the little pantry fits with Jesus’ call to feed the hungry and take care of your neighbors.
“I really have seen a positive reaction from the congregation and the community,” Carty said. “I see people, from time to time, putting in items or taking items out.”
Carty said with the church continuing its strides to nourish the body, the next project will be something similar to nourish the mind.
The congregation has begun working on the community garden, with plans to begin planting on March 25.
Members have added more raised beds that will, hopefully, result in more produce. Along with the additional beds, the church members will be adding a free little library.
Similar to the little food pantry, the small cabinet will contain a selection of books that individuals are encouraged to take from, and/or add to.
Similar little libraries are located in communities and neighborhoods across the country.
“We just want to invite people to come to the garden and sit and relax,” Carty said.