Inspired by the Blessing Table on Gaston Avenue, a Junius Heights resident wanted to help feed the hungry in her neighborhood.

Every morning, Colleen Mayerhoff and her four children set out a cardboard box of food on Henderson Avenue between Tremont and Victor streets. The box contains non-perishable goods, microwave meals and plastic bags for carrying the items. Sometimes she’ll throw in a few clothing items her kids have outgrown.

“It’s empty every day,” Mayerhoff said. “It doesn’t matter what we put in there. There are neighbors in need, and it’s a lesson for my kids. If we’re making mac and cheese, they’ll say, ‘Let’s take a box out to the pantry.'”

The idea for the little free pantry came from neighbor Beth Basile. When Mayerhoff heard about Basile’s Blessing Table, she and her kids packed a wagon with food and rolled it to Gaston Avenue.

“I thought, ‘We should do this,'” she said. “We’re far enough away from the Blessing Table that it hits a different group of people. We have a lot of foot traffic from the bus routs.”

The family buys extra food at Costco and fills the box every day. They take it in at night to keep critters from taking the food and to keep moisture from disintegrating the box.

Mayerhoff, who co-runs the Lipscomb Peace Pantry, invites neighbors to donate or take what they need.

She plans on continuing the pantry as long as the family is able to fill it.


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