Doing Good For the Neighborhood: Main Street’s Little Free Pantry

On the left: Winsted's Little Free Pantry when it was started in March 2020. A few months after it was started, the original pantry was replaced with its current metal storage unit, as seen on the right. Photos via the Winsted Ct Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group.
On the left: Winsted's Little Free Pantry when it was started in March 2020. A few months after it was started, the original pantry was replaced with its current metal storage unit, as seen on the right. Photos via the Winsted Ct Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group.

WINSTED — When the Covid pandemic started in March 2020, many essential services in town all came to a halt.
The Open Door Soup Kitchen, which provides access to food and resources for residents in need, shut down for weeks due to the pandemic.
Adding even further to a terrible situation, many residents suddenly were out of work due to businesses were quickly shutting down everywhere.
“People who didn’t struggle with food insecurities before were all wondering where they were going to get food,” area resident Sarah Toomey said. “There were a lot more people in need more than ever before.”
Toomey is the moderator of the Winsted Ct Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook page and has a close eye on what is happening in the community.
A few days after the pandemic started, Toomey came up with the idea of a Little Free Pantry for residents in need.
Both David and Amy Sartirana volunteered the front of their Northwest Connecticut Realty at 98 Main Street for the location of the pantry.
“It would not have worked without David and Amy,” Toomey said. “They both selflessly took it upon themselves to look after the location.”
At first, a small metal cabinet was set up, but it was eventually upgraded to a larger metal two-door commercial metal cabinet.
One year later, while the Open Door Soup Kitchen and other services have reopened, the Little Free Pantry is still going strong, providing those in need with access to food and toiletries.
The sign on the door says “Take only what you need, leave what you can.”
And indeed, over the past year residents have graciously donated to the pantry.
“The pantry continues to thrive thanks to the residents,” Toomey said. “They have all selflessly taken it upon themselves to help others. There’s a lot of people who stepped up and donated from their pantries when they might not have had a lot themselves. As a community, everybody came together to make it happen for this past year. Anybody that donated anything is greatly appreciated.”
For more information about the pantry call Toomey at 860-309-3845.

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