Give what you can - Take what you need - Andrea Petrusky and the first Little Free Pantry in Shoreline - LFP

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Adam Petrusky built the first Little Free Pantry in Shoreline as an
anniversary gift for his wife, Andrea
Photo by Andrew Petrusky

Ridgecrest resident Andrea Petrusky was browsing Facebook one day a few years ago when she came across a video about Jessica McClard of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Inspired by the Little Free Libraries all over her neighborhood, Jessica created a Little Free Pantry in May 2016, stocking a similar cabinet with canned vegetables and proteins, and other shelf stable products at no cost to recipients.

Her concept was "Give what you can, Take what you need." She created a web page to publicize her project and within a short time there were Little Free Pantries all over the world.

In Shoreline that same year, Andrea Petrusky saw it as an immediate opportunity.

"I sent it to my husband, Adam, and told him I wanted one. He said, "There are $750,000 houses going up down the street, do you think it will get used?" I said yes!
"So he built me one for our Anniversary in August that year. We got a free kitchen cabinet from Craigslist and he built a roof for it, and built new doors with plexiglass. It opened September 22 of 2016. I love it!"

Jessica McClard was given an award of $40,000 by Tyson Foods to create a mapping tool to register all the Little Free Pantries in the world so people could find them.

Andrea immediately registered hers, which is located at 15815 11th Ave NE.

"I used to be the person who could purchase things for people when they were in need, but my situation changed. I needed to find a new way to help the community that wasn't monetary. I had time on my hands, so this has worked out great for me. I can refill the pantry and manage the Facebook page.

Photo by Andrea Petrusky

Helping people in need is deeply important to Andrea.

"My dad was homeless and suffered from the disease of addiction for many years. He passed away in 2010. He deserved food just like everybody else.

"I know the stigma around drug addiction is often that people are homeless and choose to be addicts and don't deserve the help of the community. I don't think they can recover without the help and support of the community.

"So I suppose I embarked on this project in memory of my Dad. Some people saw an addict, I saw a father, grandfather, person behind the addiction.

In spite of the $750,000 homes on the block, her Pantry is heavily used.

"People with food insecurity are all around us. Not everybody qualifies for food stamps, not everybody can get to the food bank. Many people come to pantry after dark. People come all day as well, and I can't tell if they are leaving food or taking food, but I know that people use it!"

There are now 13 Little Free Pantries in Shoreline / Lake Forest Park. Several have come online since the pandemic and stay at home order put hundreds of residents into the "food insecurity" category.

Anyone is welcome to access any of the pantries.

Give what you can, Take what you need.


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