After the 2016 presidential election, Tori Phillips said she felt “helpless” and thought there was a community divide in Arlington.
To address that, Phillips reached out to multiple churches in 2017 with the idea of launching a “Little Community Pantry.” The idea is similar to that of a “Little Free Library,” from which people can give and take books as they please, except with Phillips’ pantry people can donate non-perishable food items and other items such as foot and hand warmers, packaged toothbrushes and tampons.
This past August Phillips was able to establish her “Little Community Pantry” outside the Central United Methodist Church, just across the street from the Ballston metro.
Phillips said she monitors the pantry weekly with the help of family, friends and members of the church. A member of the church also painted the pantry box, she added.
Some weeks she has been pleasantly surprised to find the pantry full, but in general she said the demand is higher than the supply.
Phillips said she thinks the pantry has helped bring the community together. Multiple people have stopped and thanked Phillips when she fills up the pantry. Sometimes people donate scarves, hats and gloves though the pantry doesn’t prompt it.
In the future Phillips hopes to see more pantry boxes outside of Arlington. She has her sights set on the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria as the next Little Community Pantry location.
Photo by Tori Phillips