HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Geri Evans knows how it feels to be in a tight spot financially and need help with food. That’s why she’s helping provide it for people in need.
Last week, Evans and her husband set up a Little Free Pantry at Bluff Park Elementary School. It’s a place where people who have food can contribute it, and those who need it can get it for free. You can find them across the nation, and Evans had seen them in her home state of Minnesota, but never any in Hoover.
“I had seen it a long time ago, and I just really wanted to bring it to our school, so that anybody that needed something to eat at any time could just swing by and get it,” Evans, a teacher at Bluff Park Elementary, said.
She’d been thinking about setting one up for a while when leaders in her church started a project. They gave $50 to members of the congregation and encouraged them to use the money to do something good. For Evans the choice was obvious. She picked up a pantry from the Salvation Army, and put it in the outdoor classroom at the school. She used her $50 to help stock the shelves. Several other families in the church did the same.
Soon, parents from Bluff Park Elementary started contributing. Now, it’s filled with everything from ramen noodles to canned soup to macaroni and cheese. All free for whoever needs it.
“It’s really exciting to see that people are starting to use it and want to be part of it and that the kids want to put some things in it and be able to use it at our school,” Evans said. “I just think it’s great to offer that to the community.”
Evans’ inspiration came from her own experience struggling to make ends meet, relying on friends for help.
“I remember when I was a single parent and at the end of the month when funds were tight,” she said.” I just want to be able to do that for someone that may need it now.”
Bluff Park Elementary leaders are planning to contribute to the pantry. Evans said they’ll have a meeting around the end of April to arrange a food drive to help stock the shelves.