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'Tiny but mighty': Community pantries help neighbors during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 23:37:37-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four years ago, Kristin Hatch and Delania Miller read an article about community pantries. Wanting to help their neighbors, the Kansas City, Missouri, women decided to buy a shelf, place it outside of their home and stock it with food.

Their idea quickly took off.

“Other people were like, ‘What is this? Who can come and take from it? Who can donate to it? How do I get one?’,” Miller said.

Today, 11 pantries across the metro associated with KC Soul Pantry. The idea of each is to provide 24/7 access to food, allowing neighbors to take what they need and give what they can — no questions asked or judgments made.

“The soul pantry is a tiny but mighty idea,” Hatch said.

This, she said, was especially true last year. As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the demand for food inside their pantry increased dramatically.

“Frequently, we go out to fill it and it will be completely empty,” Hatch said. “We also noticed the generosity of our neighbors coming together too to be together and support one another.”

Morgan Miller Plumbing, in Grandview, is helping restock these pantries.

“Instead of providing the safe sanitation and water, we’re providing food to a community that we owe and that we need to give back to,” Shop Manager Nicholas Frank said.

The locally owned company also has conducted an annual “restock the pantry” drive, collecting canned goods and food from its customers, for the past nine years. Usually the business give donations to small, local nonprofit organizations, but this year the company focused on hyper-local pantries, such as KC Soul Pantry.

“It’s a feel good moment,” said Tosha Everhart, who works as the brand manager for Morgan Miller Plumbing. “It makes you feel like you’re doing something because this past year a lot of people felt helpless. They tried to do what they could and they couldn’t.”

Morgan Miller Plumbing staff have offered to pick up donations from residents who would like to contribute to these community pantries. For more information call 816-765-4843.

The KC Soul Pantries are located at the following addresses:

Those interested in creating their own KC Soul Pantry can visit the organization's website.