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Buffalo Strong: Where to find Little Free Pantries in Western New York

Posted at 9:08 AM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 17:35:37-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With Western New Yorkers quarantined in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many are looking to Little Free Pantries as a way to help those in need. They are a place where people in need can come get food, hygiene products and more.

"When you need something, it's there. There's no need to talk to somebody about that. You can just go ahead and get what you need," said Chad Rieselman, the pastor at Lumber City Church.

Lumber City Church was where the idea for Little Free Pantries in North Tonawanda was born.

"We don't want anyone to go hungry at any time. That's what it's all about," Rieselman said.

He said there are even more people depending on the goods left in the pantries since the coronavirus led to closed businesses. There are ten of them throughout North Tonawanda.

"We have children that come and get food out of these Little Free Pantries and prepare it on their own," Rieselman said.

"It's awesome. I love the fact that it's available because I see people here all times of the day," Bethany Evans, a member of Lumbar City Church, said.

As much as they encourage people to come take what they need, they encourage people to come drop off things as well.

"Our dream is that everyone in our city makes it part of their regular shopping habit ot pick up one or two extra items and on their way home put it in the pantry," Rieselman said.

Since the spread of COVID 19 has lead to jobs lost, North Tonawanda has stepped up.

"There's a lot more people doing a lot more to fill the pantries," said Rieselman, but, "Right now we're at a critical time where that need of folks is outpacing even that extra giving."

You can donate any non perishable food item or hygiene product to the pantries simply by stopping by one of the locations and putting it inside.

"We can work together to make sure that everyone in our city has food day and every night," said Rieselman.

The 716 Little Free Pantry Coalition came up with a list of Little Free Pantries across Western New York.

If you need additional assistance finding a little free pantry, you can call 211.

Know of a little free pantry that's not on this list? Let us know on our WKBW Facebook page and on our WKBW Twitter.