In 2018, Dawn Buck was scrolling through her Facebook feed and noticed how many people were asking for food, diapers and baby formula. Her initial thought was why don't they utilize food stamps to help or head to a nearby food pantry. She realized that most of those asking for assistance did not even qualify for food stamps or income verification that is needed for a food pantry.
“A lot of them were just stuck,” Dawn says.
Her heart poured out to senior citizens, who also didn’t have the means to provide enough food to get them through each month. She knew she had to make an impact in some way and for weeks she thought how to do just that.
“I searched online for pantries and I noticed the free little libraries all over my search. I showed my husband and he told me that he could make something to put in front of our house, but instead of books it would be food and necessities.”
With an extra cupboard from her garage turned into a roadside pantry that resembles a large mailbox, they started Depew’s Little Free Food Pantry!
“We had it up and running the week before Thanksgiving, and I started a Facebook page to spread the word. I did have several people private messaging me asking for help for their Thanksgiving celebrations, and we were able to help the best we could. But, I wasn't noticing a lot of people stopping at the pantry for the first few weeks – those who did would only come after dark. Then, the first week of December everything changed.”
Word spread like wildfire and the pantry was helping a few per day. And it no longer mattered what time of day. It truly is a judgement free zone…no questions asked!
“With the food donations, we have been able to help over 100 families, so far, and it hasn't even been a year yet. We were even able to give out several Christmas gifts to families who really needed help.
During the summer months, Dawn left a cooler out filled with bottled water and popsicles, and she notes that she filled it up at least three times a day. And another proud moment for her was being able to feed eleven children by providing them with breakfast and lunch during the entire summer.
With so much activity, Dawn said that she has had to create a new and improved pantry because the old kitchen cupboard was falling apart. The new pantry is made of plastic and will be able to withstand all types of weather. It also has a light inside, so it's easier to navigate at night.
She said she is always looking for additional volunteers to drop off food or other donations to keep the pantry filled. “I am trying to be a bit more prepared for this upcoming winter, so that’s why I decided to have a live basket raffle this coming Friday [September 27th].”
They will be using random.org to pick winners for tickets that can be purchased at $5 a piece or three for $10. In the prizes are two tickets to the Carrie Underwood show coming up in October in Buffalo, NY.
To purchase your tickets for a chance to win, and also to support Depew’s Little Free Food Pantry, click here.