Submitted by Greg Rediske.
There is a “new” way to be happy, available all over Lakewood. The way to this joy is provided by several new Little Food Pantries (LFPs). These look like a lending library, but are actually a mini-food bank, with necessities beyond just food. There is no doubt some level of joy that comes from those in need who partake of these things in the LFPs, but the greater joy is for community members who are afforded the opportunity to help people. I have been a member of Lakewood Rotary for 39 years. This has provided me with a vehicle to give back, over and over again. The projects arrive, and I get to help, and I get the joy of helping others. The LFPs offer community members that same vehicle to help, and that same feeling of joy from being part of making the world a better place.
Little Free Pantries are provided, placed, and initially stocked by community organizations like Lakewood Rotary and others. But that’s where the financial support ends. For the LFPs to succeed, the local community must restock them. It is a unique concept. Yes, the LFPs help those in need, but people also long to feel they are helping, which I can tell you from personal experience produces joy.
Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Here we have such an opportunity. Feel the joy of giving. Teach your children and grandchildren this joy by making it a family project. Think of the ways you can help a fellow human being, a fellow citizen of Lakewood with extreme need—maybe put in a pack of cheese or sausage, or a can of soup, or personal hygiene products.
Each LFP has a guardian angel of sorts, a steward who has oversight over the pantry. Jamie has oversight over the LFP in the parking lot of Lakewood Presbyterian Church. It is a joy just to listen to her gush about the activity: “Some people took this! We were left a bunch of these!” Jamie gets to manage goodness. She gets to witness it every day, and it makes her happy.
Watch for a Little Free Pantry in your neighborhood. If you need some help, take what you need. If you don’t need that kind of help, consider making your life a little more joyful by giving.
For more information about how to get an LFP in your neighborhood, please contact Bob.