Home ‘There’s a dignity that can still be had:’ First Little Free Food Pantry celebrates grand opening

‘There’s a dignity that can still be had:’ First Little Free Food Pantry celebrates grand opening

Rebecca Barnabi
Bear Creek, The Neighbor Bridge Inc. and Augusta County Library celebrate the grand opening of the Little Free Food Pantry in Fishersville on Thursday, April 27, 2023. Photos by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

Nestled between a picnic table and a Brite bus stop to the left of the Augusta County Library in Fishersville is a box with two glass doors.

Inside the box, community members are welcome to take what’s inside or leave more for others in need.

The Little Free Food Pantry was designed and built by Bear Creek in partnership with the library and The Neighbor Bridge Inc.

“Our mission with The Neighbor Bridge is to supply food, clothing…supplies to local families in need,” said Tricia Fillion, “through projects that connect neighbors in community.”

The pantry in Fishersville is hopefully the first of several that will be built and placed in Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro. Fillion said that 60 pounds of food were already donated for the Fishersville pantry.

The goal of the pantry is to serve as an emergency food service for families and individuals in need when other food pantries are not open. They can receive a healthy meal if they need a meal.

The pantry also serves as a Little Free Library with a few books available.

“The food keeps taking over the library side [of the pantry],” Trisha Fillion said.

At Thursday’s grand opening of the pantry, an individual could get breakfast, lunch and dinner supplied.

“There’s a dignity that can still be had with needing help from something like this,” Chaz Fillion said. He and his wife will check the pantry regularly to ensure items are not expired. “We don’t want it to fade away. We want to pull the community as a whole in.”

Community members are welcome to donate nonperishable items to the pantry.

The Little Free Food Pantry welcomes donations of nonperishable items at Augusta County Library in Fishersville.

Doug Keith is branch manager of the Augusta County Library in Fishersville. He said the library tries to partner with the community keeping in mind what’s going on in the local community.

The location of the pantry near a Brite bus stop and in a secluded area next to the library was purposeful.

“It’s a low-key way to help folks who are in need,” Keith said. “We are just focusing on providing a facility for the pantry.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.