Inspired by the mini libraries I've seen pop up, I decided to make some small wooden boxes. Full disclosure; I don't have any training as a woodworker, but I dabble and I build all the sets for the productions at the school where I teach. So, the pantries may be a little crude and "informal" as Mary Berry might say, but they get the job done. And they are are getting more use than I ever could have imagined. I put 5 up in the Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace area and they get filled and emptied almost every day. Obviously there is more of a need than 5 pantries can cover. So I'd like to make 5 more. And then 5 more after that. And eventually have tiny purple pantries as a recognizable fixture of the city.
I know it's not much, and there are systemic injustices that need to be addressed when so many people go hungry in such a wealthy nation. Those absolutely should be addressed, but in the mean time, a family on your block is going hungry tonight and you don't know about it. Furthermore, not only do they stave off hunger for a small number of our neighbors, but it also brings the community together in a way I couldn't have imagined. Kindness and connection are bursting out of people. This pandemic has made us all hungry for community and this is a nice way to rebuild those broken bridges.
So, why am I on gofundme? Because schools closed means paying for extra childcare. Because a teachers salary doesn't stretch as far as I'd like. Because lumber, nails and paint can really add up and are more expensive now. I'd like to make more, but I just can't swing it right now. That's a little embarrassing to admit, but pride is just going to go up on the shelf for the foreseeable future and I'm going to lean back on my community and see if it catches me. I have faith it will.
Since we've already reached the first goal, and then the second, I really want to expand this project into a learning experience as well. Not just to provide people with pantries, but teach people how to build them or other community projects. The dream is to have a maker-space for young people to learn mathematical concepts for practical applications. Take algebra, geometry and trig out of the classroom and into the wood-shop.