Little Free Libraries and Pantries Provide Mission Opportunity

Check out this story from the Lebanon Lutheran Cooperative Ministry (LLCM) about starting a Little Free Library & Pantry community ministry, and learn how easy it is to set up your own. Pr. Bob Ierien is willing to help. Click the photo for more information.

All it took was one woman’s passion for literacy to plant the seed that blossomed into the Lebanon Lutheran Cooperative Ministry’s (LLCM) Little Free Library and Little Free Pantry. Pat Shedlock, former council president at Salem (Lebanon) and founding chairperson of the board of LLCM, is a retired school teacher who suggested putting a Little Free Library on Salem’s grounds as a way of engaging the community and promoting reading.

Pastor Bob Ierien, who does woodworking in his spare time, offered to draw up the plans and build the library, and a grant of $250 from Salem’s Mission Endowment Fund provided the startup money. The library was installed on Salem’s lawn in July of 2016, and was an immediate success.

That success led Salem’s current president, Shirley McGowan, to suggest another Little Free Pantry–one that feeds bodies the way the library feeds minds. An anonymous donor provided the startup funds, Pastor Bob went back to his woodshop, and the pantry was installed in October next to the library.

“These two projects have helped us engage more with our neighbors in this community in the last six months than we have in a long time,” said Pastor Bob. “They’ve broken the ice, opened doors for conversation, and helped us show people that our churches love them and care about them.”

All four LLCM congregations contribute to stocking the library and pantry, and another library and pantry will soon be installed at Saint James, another LLCM congregation. Several community organizations and other congregations have also inquired about having libraries or pantries built for them.

“I’m happy to build as many as people want, or to share my plans if people want to build one themselves,” said Pastor Bob. “We’re thrilled with how these things have worked here in the Co-op, and we’re happy to share them with anyone who wants them.”

Has your congregation considered installing a Little Free Library or a Little Free Pantry? Pastor Ierien is willing to take orders from LSS congregations or agencies. The design would match that shown in the photo. The price is $200 per unit, and includes the complete pantry/library fully weatherproofed and painted in your choice of color, hardware for mounting to a 4×4 post, and delivery anywhere in Dauphin, Lancaster, or Lebanon Counties. Delivery in other areas of the synod can be arranged. (Please note: post and installation are not included.) Delivery time is expected to be 3-4 weeks from date of order. Custom design elements can be incorporated for a small additional fee; these may take longer to deliver. Please email or call 717-679-1058 if you are interested.