Little Free Pantry continues to grow

Whitewater resident’s small idea still thriving

Charlie Fries, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Kristine Zaballos, creator of the first permanent Little Free Pantry located on Walworth Avenue, has come a long way since starting in 2016 with no more than a dream to help people struggling with day-to-day expenses.

“The average user is on a fixed income where one mishap — a car repair, an unexpected health care bill — can leave them without extra cash for food,” said Zaballos. “I’ve received many notes from people who said they were between jobs and the LFP helped tide them over and that now they were employed, they were contributing to it.”

Now, Zaballos can say that she has helped to make an even bigger change beyond Walworth Avenue with the creation of a second Little Free Pantry installed at the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library. She is again looking to help anyone in need.

The second Little Free Pantry operates the same as the one on Walworth Avenue, and the Whitewater Food Pantry is open to everyone. With this new addition, both Zaballos and the staff at the local library hope to reach even more people in need.

This year the Little Free Pantry is adding another new locations around the community, including one in Drumlin Hall to help students.

This on-campus food pantry is set to be opened and available to students sometime in early spring.

“The regular Whitewater Food Pantry is only open a few hours each week,” explained Irvin L. Young director Stacey Lunsford. “The public library is open 63 hours a week, is centrally located, and is visited by roughly 70,000 people per year.”

Zaballos is not the only resident taking great care of the pantry and the community. Former library board trustee Brienne Diebolt-Brown is invested as well, both in the pantry and in other ways of helping community needs.

“Kristine Zaballos and I started the Tuesday City Market, which is a successful farmers market in town and contributes thousands of pounds of fresh food to the Whitewater Food Pantry,” said Diebolt-Brown.

For those looking to donate, both locations are open for donations at any time.