AUBURN – Earlier this spring, a group of residents came together to promote a message of unity within DeKalb County, and now that message of unity has turned into a message of help to the community.
Better Together Auburn, Indiana’s first rally to promote unity was held in downtown Auburn on the same Saturday as a Ku Klux Klan event, held in rural County of DeKalb. During this event, the group collected food to donate to pantries in the area.
Since then, the group has continued its mission of collecting food to distribute to the community. On Wednesday night, he installed his brand new Better Together Auburn, Indiana Community Pantry. The Pantry, located outside the Willennar Administrative Annex of the Eckhart Public Library at 212 W. 12th St., is a place residents can visit at any time of the day and take whatever they need. .
Suzanne Davis, a representative for Better Together Auburn, Indiana, said the pantry is one of “give what you can, take what you need.”
Not only are residents encouraged to pick up the items they need, but the success of the pantry depends on local residents giving back and filling the cupboard with food items.
Items in the pantry may include: canned and jarred foods, crackers, canned cereal, trail mix, soups, peanut butter, jelly, dry pasta, soaps, shampoo, diapers, wipes, hygiene products personal and toilet paper.
The pantry is the second in the city; the first was installed earlier this year at the Union Township office, 427 W. 7th St.
Davis said the first pantry is in use at this point, but unit donations have been slow.
She hopes that as word spreads across the two units, local residents will buy into the concept and help stock pantries.
Davis said the group came up with the idea for Forward Indiana’s pantries in Fort Wayne, where there are several similar units.
The two metal cabinets, which serve as a pantry, were donated by Steel Dynamics to Butler. Each unit was painted by local artist Ava Harris, an elder at DeKalb High School.
The bookcase cabinet is painted with a bookcase theme featuring happy owls of all shapes and sizes reading books. The one in the Union Township office offers brightly colored dishes with faces. The side of both cabinets is labeled “Free Food”.
Davis said the Union Township board of directors is very excited about having a pantry outside their building.
Jenny Kobiela-Mondor, deputy director of the library, said the library was delighted to have one of the pantries on its campus.
“We can’t wait to get the word out,” she said.
Working with the public, Jamie Long, Eckhart Public Library Outreach Program Manager, said they saw firsthand the food insecurity issues within the community.
In an effort to continue to grow the project, Better Together Auburn, Indiana, is looking for additional pantry locations in the community. Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can contact Davis at 925-2607. A Facebook group has also been set up to track pantry needs by researching Auburn Community Pantries.