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United Way volunteers build 5 ‘Little Free Pantries’ across Roanoke Valley

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It was a big collaboration Friday that brought five ‘Little Free Pantries’ to life across the Roanoke Valley.

“This is really a grass roots way to take care of our community,” said Corey Slusher with United Way of Roanoke Valley.

Friday’s effort was all part of the United Way’s annual Day of Action.

“Day of Action is a day across the nation and across the world that United Ways gather together and bring communities together to take action for needs in the community,” said Slusher.

The need in the Roanoke Valley? Food insecurity.

So Home Depot donated the supplies, Western Virginia Water Authority built and installed the pantries, volunteers and United Way employees painted them, and community members donated food to fill them.

“We have found that people who need it use it and also put back to it,” said Slusher.

That’s the goal as organizers hope to sustain the four new pantries added in Roanoke and one in Franklin County.

The locations were all chosen strategically, including the one at the Boys and Girls Club along 9th Street in Southeast Roanoke.

“There’s a bus stop here, it’s a bridge to different communities, and so we wanted to make sure that we have presence and there is resources available,” said Alisha Childress with United Way of Roanoke Valley.

Just up the road, Virginia Tech dietetic students helped paint the new pantry at Morningside Urban Farm.

“It’ll sit between the community gardens and Morningside Urban Farm, which is a Carilion community collaborative, so attendees to the class, visitors to the gardens, people who come to the park, can enjoy and appreciate it,” said Angela Charlton, Morningside Urban Farm’s coordinator.

Saturday, volunteers will also paint and hang birdhouses at Roanoke senior living facilities.

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