The need for Little Free Pantries has increased due to job loss because of the pandemic and a local Girl Scout Troop noticed that some of those pantries need some attention.

KX News met with some local Girl Scouts who are playing fixer-upper. But they won’t be adding shiplap to these little free pantries — more like maintenance on the doors and windows and the help comes just in time for winter.

The Troop Leader, Heather Haugland says, “What we plan to do is go around to the existing little pantries and check them out for damage.”

Dakota Horizon’s Girl Scout Troop 83044 is ready to earn their bronze award but in order to do that the girls had to pick a community project that would make a positive impact. So the scouts have been researching the wear and tear of the 20 plus Little Free Pantries in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

“If they’re too damaged nobody’s gonna fill them,” said Haugland.

11-year-old Chloe Haugland says in times like this fixing the pantries is needed more than ever. She says, “Some of the food can go bad. Cause if it goes bad you could get sick or something.”

So what needs to be fixed? Troop member Mikaela Suhr says, “Food pantries that have broken windows, needs paint, broken doors.”

Little Free Pantries apply the community library concept to food donations. They assist neighbors in dealing with food insecurity– helping them stock their pantries with dry goods and canned goods.

The co-manager of Little Free Pantry Jessy Wetsch says, “It’s been a lot of maintenance. Unfortunately, the wind breaks a lot of the doors and we have come back and either re-hinge, completely re-build, we’ve also had quite a bit of vandalism in some of the locations.”

The project is a chance for the troop to help bring awareness to a larger need and troop members feel grateful to contribute to an effort that’s proving so helpful.

Chloe Haugland says, “Some people can’t get certain items and they come to these to get them.”

The troop plans to begin fixing the pantries within the next month before winter really hits hard.

Some items to donate are things like nonperishable foods, personal care items and paper products.

Non Perishable Foods

  • Peanut butter and jelly in plastic
  • Boxed/bagged grains/beans: rice, couscous, quinoa, red beans, white beans
  • Pasta: dry pasta, bagged pasta meals, mac n’ cheese
  • Pasta sauce in plastic
  • Cereal: cold and hot
  • Peanut butter and other snack crackers
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits
  • Granola bars

Personal Care Items

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Moisturizer
  • Pads/tampons
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Handwarmers

Paper Products

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Kleenex

For a full list of pantries in the Bismarck- Mandan area go here. You can also check out the Little Free Pantry Facebook page here.