Waynesboro Public Library’s Little Free Food Pantry offers healthy meals, reading material
Culture, Local

Waynesboro Public Library’s Little Free Food Pantry offers healthy meals, reading material

Rebecca Barnabi
Waynesboro celebrated the grand opening of a Little Free Food Pantry at Waynesboro Public Library on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

The community celebrated a Little Free Food Pantry presence at Waynesboro Public Library Friday morning.

“This is the second one at a library,” said Trisha Fillion of The Neighbor Bridge, which worked with Bear Creek Outdoors and the library to make the pantry possible.

The Neighbor Bridge installed a pantry at the Augusta County Library’s main branch in Fishersville, one at Gospel Light Baptist in Waynesboro and, most recently, at Habitat for Humanity in Staunton.

Trisha and Chaz Fillion arrived at the pantry near the Brite Bus stop at Waynesboro’s library this morning ready to stock it up with food next to where the library had filled the right side with books.

“We came here today and it was stocked full, and we didn’t do it and the library didn’t do it,” Trisha Fillion said.

She added that the pantry in Fishersville also has a mystery donor who provides nonperishable items.

As the Fillions had hoped when they began the Little Free Food Pantry project, all of the pantries are self-sustaining, which means sponsors and donors regularly provide non-perishable items. The project has five sponsors so far: three for the pantry in Staunton and two for Fishersville.

Trisha Fillion said that 1,700 pounds of food have been donated so far, equal to the size of a male giraffe.

Not only is the pantry at the Waynesboro library near a Brite bus stop like the pantry in Fishersville, but WARM plans to schedule a pickup/dropoff site at the gazebo near the pantry.

“So those experiencing homelessness will be here twice a day,” Trisha Fillion said.

She said the location at Waynesboro Library has a community that cares and wants to give.

“This location is great because you do have a lot of need in this area,” she said.

Chaz Fillion continues to have ideas on how to help members of the community who are food insecure. He and his wife are working on a brick-and-mortar location for a food pantry that would partner with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and provide freezer space for turkeys at Thanksgiving for The Neighbor Bridge’s other project: the Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta Thanks-gifting (SWAT).

However, Chaz Fillion points out, some members of the community “struggle to get to you” with a brick-and-mortar building, so he would also like to have a good pantry bus to drive around to neighbors and distribute food.

“And you’re bringing education and health into these communities that struggle,” he said.

He also wants to have a traveling coat closet to the help community during the winter months.

“It’s always nice when you get any kind of turnout. It’s not so much about the turnout, it’s the community coming together,” Chaz Fillion said of Friday morning’s celebration at the Waynesboro library.

The Fillions hope the next Little Free Food Pantry will be installed at the Staunton Public Library on Churchville Avenue.

‘It’s still fresh’: The Neighbor Bridge celebrates first Little Free Food Pantry in Staunton – Augusta Free Press

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


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.