‘Little Community Pantry’ helps feed the hungry in Ballston | ARLnow

After the 2016 presidential election, Tori Phillips said she felt “helpless” and thought there was a community divide in Arlington.

To address this issue, Phillips reached out to several churches in 2017 with the idea of ​​starting a “little community pantry.” The idea is similar to a “little free library”, from which people can donate and take books as they please, except with Phillips’ pantry, people can donate food not perishables and other items such as toe and hand warmers, packaged toothbrushes and tampons.

Last August, Phillips was able to establish his “little community pantry” outside the Central United Methodist Church, just across from Ballston Tube.

Phillips said she watches the pantry weekly with help from family, friends and church members. A church member also painted the pantry, she added.

Some weeks she was pleasantly surprised to find the pantry full, but in general she said demand exceeded supply.

Phillips said she thought the pantry helped bring the community together. Several people stopped and thanked Phillips as she stocked the pantry. Sometimes people donate scarves, hats, and gloves even though the pantry doesn’t ask them.

Going forward, Phillips hopes to see more pantries 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

Norma P. Rex