Free Little Pantry in New Market helping meet community needs

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 2:32 PM EDT
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NEW MARKET, Va. (WHSV) - People in New Market have a new way to lend a hand to those in need. The owners of the Teeny Tiny Home Airbnb on South Congress Street in downtown New Market have set up a free little pantry in front of the home.

The pantry’s downtown location makes it an easy spot for people walking by to either take food if they’re in need or donate it if they can.

“With grocery prices being so high, no matter where you are, people always need food and a lot of people don’t want to advertise that they’re in need and the little free pantry is just such an easy way for people just to grab food without people knowing that they need it,” said Missi Ratliff, owner of the Teeny Tiny Home Airbnb.

Ratliff and her husband purchased the Airbnb in January and built the free little pantry in front of it at the beginning of March. Now four weeks in she said the pantry has already been emptied and refilled a few times thanks to the generosity of the community.

“My biggest concern when starting it was making sure I could find the community members to help me with this. But it’s been great, the last week and a half people have shown up and it’s been awesome. People take the food, there’s a need for it and they come and they find it,” she said.

Ratliff said that having the pantry in front of their Airbnb has been a great experience for her two young daughters.

“They love when they see people filling the pantry as well so it’s just a fun way to teach my kids how to give and the importance of it. Giving doesn’t just happen around Thanksgiving and Christmas, it can be a year-round thing,” she said.

Ratliff said she has been happy with the impact the pantry has already had. She said that small quick meals have been amount the most popular food items that have been donated and taken.

“A lot of the foods that go quickly are the foods that are already a meal like Hamburger Helper, Mac and Cheese, noodles, peanut butter items, really anything that’s just an easy meal, anything is appreciated. The little cups of fruit, apple sauces, anything that’s just quick, easy, and filling,” she said.

Ratliff said she hopes more and more people will begin to donate to the pantry.

“I just want it to be something that if people need food they won’t hesitate, it’s just really simple, they open it up, take what they need, and keep walking. It’s something I’d like the community to help us with because it is a really good way for everyone to come together,” she said.