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Little Free Pantries Pop Up on Southwest Elementary School Campus

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Take what you need, give what you can. This is the concept behind the outdoor, see-through, unlocked tiny houses containing food and other necessities.

Southwest Elementary principal Elizabeth Castle and her students embraced the idea of the “Little Free Pantries” immediately when first grade teacher Joseph Pinette proposed them as a school service learning project.

It may be cliché, but build it and they will come proves true in this case. Up only a few days and the honor society students monitoring the two houses noticed items have been removed and some new items appeared. Each day they keep track of items that have been taken and they restock, bringing the project full circle into their academic lessons.

Pinnet built two houses and installed them at both ends of campus near NC53. He has plans mount a solar light on top of each house, but in the meantime, they are located close enough to streetlights to illuminate their contents.

Through this and other service projects students learn that neighbors help neighbors and there is joy in providing a helping hand to someone in need, said Castle.

Though it can’t replace a food bank, it can help those who may be too embarrassed to seek help if they come up short one week, said Pinnet. It is anonymous, there is no paperwork to fill out, and it is available 24/7.

Pinnet hopes to introduce the project to other Onslow County Schools.

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