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Nan Carvell moved to Gainesville in 2018 from Tampa and immediately became involved in our Wisdom Project Program. She recalls that the Program gave her an opportunity to learn in depth about local community activities and see where she could become involved. After hearing about the concept of “Little Free Pantries”, she knew she wanted to roll up her sleeves and volunteered to be the leader for Wisdom Keepers on the project with the United Way of Hall County (UWHC).

“The Giving Pantry and Libraries" are popping up all around the country as a grassroots movement to support immediate food and other needs locally. They are designed as sturdy little houses on a post with the capacity to hold canned and non-perishable foods, as well as books. Located in neighborhoods and areas of need, these pantries are easily accessed by the people that need them – no car required!

UWHC approached Wisdom Project 2030 for help in getting the pantries built and installed. They are ready to use ongoing funding available to stock and replenish the pantries and have plenty of partner agencies to help identify appropriate locations. Building on UWHC’s Linda Cascio’s efforts and after receipt of a generous anonymous donation for the project, Wisdom Keeper Nan Carvell was able to obtain a $1,000 donation from Home Depot for the needed resources.

With Nan’s brother-in-law, Al Batog’s technical leadership, they built the first prototype, which is being painted before installation. Each pantry requires an 18”x18”x48” hole and a cement footing to securely hold the pantry’s support post. When it is completed, this pantry will be installed at the Salvation Army and we will have a complete cycle of learning from the construction, finishing and installation processes to help us build another 10-12 pantries at an estimated cost of $250 each.

So, how can you HELP?

First, if you have power tools for construction, or know someone so equipped who may be willing to build some pantries for this project, please raise your hand! Each pantry is about 60 pounds empty, so this project requires power tools and a bit of muscle.

Okay – you don’t have a workshop – can you paint? Each pantry requires a primer coat and two coats of exterior paint. Simple. Feeling more artistic? Get your creativity on by adding, messages (such as TAKE what you need, DONATE what you can in English and Spanish) and decorative pictures to the exterior of each pantry.

Need to work off some COVID frustration or weight gain? Then digging and filling an 18”x18”x48” hole to anchor the pantry might be just what you need! Mixing cement is known to work the abs, although we believe that “many hands make light work”! We need volunteers to get these pantries in place where they can help our neighbors.

If you want to help with this project, or know someone who can, please contact Nan Carvell at carvell.nancy59@gmail.com.