Owners of a local full auto-repair shop have provided an oasis of basic life necessities.
Garage 26 co-owners Liz Sickinger and Don McCann opened their “little free pantry” on the side of their business, 147 E. William St., about more than a month ago. A Westerville resident provided the cabinet, inscribed with the phrase “Give what you can, Take what you need.”
“We didn’t know if it would work or not,” Sickinger said.
That seemed to be the case during the first week, McCann said, but turnout has exploded with the help of flyers and social media. People have donated gloves and hats along with toiletries with the needy taking advantage of the resource at their discretion.
Some people have made monetary donations to keep it stocked, McCann said, and the business keeps its surplus at the shop.
“The food is coming and going,” he said. “It’s for anybody that needs it.”
Expiration dates for donated food are checked, he added.
Sickinger heard about the concept being carried out at another state from Facebook. The idea is similar to the “little free libraries” where customers can borrow and return books for free.
“We have had people bring in huge bags of groceries that they just bought to donate to the pantry,” Sickinger said.
She and McCann recognized food and housing insecurities in Delaware.
“People struggle with food a bit,” he said and, despite misconceptions, Delaware does have a homeless population.
Compared with other charitable organizations, the pantry is available 24/7.
“It’s going to stay there all year,” McCann said.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.