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Little Free Pantries to be installed around Iberia Parish

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Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 23:32:45-04

NEW IBERIA — For weeks, students at Westgate High, New Iberia Senior High School, and the Career Center, along with trustee inmates at the Iberia Parish Correctional Center, have built little cabinets.

"I know what they look like in my head but I don't know where they are going. I don't know what he is going to use them for," student Quinton Hull said.

Hull's teacher Mr. Ruffin is one of many who agreed to help the Healthy Iberia Coalition with a healthy food pantry project.

"We focus on improving the health of Iberia Parish residents. One of the ways we do that is through the healthy food pantry project," René Stansbury, co-chair of the Healthy Iberia Coalition, said.

The small cabinets will be used as Little Free Pantries.

"I think that's great, that's amazing actually," Hull said.

In June more than a dozen of the cabinets will be installed around Iberia Parish. Stansbury says the community will find them in front of libraries, city halls, and in parks. Each cabinet costs more than $100.00. Inside people will find food, hygiene, and paper items. Each pantry will also have a list of healthy food items.

"We were able to secure a grant through the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalitions, as well as the Louisiana Department of Health through their Well Ahead program. With that funding and partnership with United Way of Iberia, we were able to fund this pantry project," Stansbury said.

The pantries allow people in need to get free food items, and those who can, to give food away.

"30% of Iberia Parish households fell into that category, meaning they just needed extra help each month. We thought this pantry project would be a great idea to help feed some families," Stansbury explained.

Once installed, a map will be released showing the different locations.

For now, Stansbury says they are need of more sponsors and organizations to help maintain the pantries. For more information on how to donate, how to get a pantry in your area, or to become a sponsor, email healthyiberiaparishcolaition@gmail.com or call 337-344-7496.