COVID-19

As food insecurity grows during COVID-19, Little Free Pantries flourish

Sue Carpenter Jul 16, 2020
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Deborah Binder of Edmonds, Washington, set up a Little Free Pantry in her yard to help food-insecure neighbors. Courtesy Deborah Binder
COVID-19

As food insecurity grows during COVID-19, Little Free Pantries flourish

Sue Carpenter Jul 16, 2020
Heard on:
Deborah Binder of Edmonds, Washington, set up a Little Free Pantry in her yard to help food-insecure neighbors. Courtesy Deborah Binder
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought high unemployment, and with more people struggling financially, food insecurity.

One way more and more community members are helping their neighbors is through a grassroots effort: Little Free Pantries. They resemble Little Free Libraries, only instead of books, they are stocked with boxed goods, canned goods and other food donated by community members to be used by passersby in need.

A Little Free Pantry (Courtesy Deborah Binder)

Jessica McClard launched the movement in 2016 to help combat food insecurity in her home state of Arkansas. She noticed Little Free Libraries in her neighborhood and realized that anything might go inside. “They even look like kitchen cabinets,” she said.

By her count, there are now more than 1,000 Little Free Pantries across the country. They are set up and maintained by individuals. About a third of them have opened since the pandemic began.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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