Burbank Neighborhood Pantry Serves a Big Need in the Community

on Aug24
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From a distance, they look just like the little free libraries that have popped up in communities all across the United States, only these relatively new community boxes are serving a different purpose.

Last year, Tara Duffy decided to install a little free pantry in Burbank so that people could take or donate essential household items.

She built the first known little pantry in Burbank near the corner of Victory Boulevard and Tujunga Avenue right outside South Hills Church after hearing from people in need on Facebook.

“Every now and then a mom would make a call out where she needed something to make to the end of the month or that next paycheck. They just needed something,” Duffy said. “It’s a place where they could go and get supplies or food or self care items, whatever they needed, without having to ask.”

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Duffy and others in the neighborhood restock the pantry periodically with dry foods, toiletries and even diapers, all of free of charge and free of shame.

“There should be no qualifiers. There should be no shame involved,” Duffy said. “It’s a resource and that’s all it should be.”

Another little free pantry popped up in Burbank after Duffy’s was built outside of another church near the corner of Hollywood Way and Jeffries Avenue showing a need in the community and a willingness from people to help.

“It’s an important need and it’s a true need, even here in Burbank. Some people might not think that, but it truly is needed here,” Duffy said.

Ida Hem lives down the street from one of the pantries and said sometimes there is an overflow of donations.

“I like it because I see a lot of, I don’t know if they’re homeless, but less fortunate pick up food and everything, and clothes. People leave a lot of things here,” Hem said. “It’s nice. It’s a little, I don’t know, a nice flower in the neighborhood.”

Duffy hopes to inspire others and Burbank and across Southern California to install their own, which can be done by visiting The Little Free Pantry (littlefreepantry.org), an organization that tracks locations nationwide and gives out plans on how to build them.

“I hope that everyone will come and donate if they can and take if they need,” Duffy said. “There are so many problems in the world and there are so many issues. It feels like a drop in a very, very, very large ocean. And these are one way to make that difference.”

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