COVID-19

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

Sue Carpenter Jul 16, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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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
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

It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been signed into law yet.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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