Student creates “Little Free Pantries” to address local food insecurity


Alyssa Donnelly, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

November is a month when we often give thanks, and certainly there’s a reason to be thankful for Buena Vista University student Taylor Loy. Loy is the mastermind and generous spirit behind two new “Little Free Pantry” locations in Storm Lake that were unveiled on via a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 25.

Loy is a junior political science and Spanish double major from Indianola, Iowa, who is actively involved in civic engagement at BVU. Loy wanted to make a difference in her community’s hunger situation. Inspired by a service trip focused on poverty and hunger her first year, Loy decided to create something within her own community of Storm Lake that could help with food insecurity.

“From that trip, I just learned that I’m really interested in hunger,” Loy said. “So then I got a service stipend that I could use for any sort of service. I decided I wanted to do something that would help solve hunger, and that’s when Ashley helped me get the idea for the pantries.”

Assistant Dean for Student Life & Director of Civic Engagement, Ashley Farmer-Hanson has been alongside Taylor throughout the project, helping Loy develop this opportunity to serve the community. With support from vice presidents, and at the time, President Fred Moore, Loy was able to fund and create two “Little Free Pantries” in town.

The Little Free Pantry project is a national project started in 2016. It is modeled after the frequently seen Little Free Library project that offers free books in public locations in communities to promote literacy. The Little Free Pantry is similar in that involves providing small, watertight structures that contain free food items and other essentials that people in need can simply take.

“We’re hoping the community members will take part in it like it’s their own, as well,” Loy said.

She hopes those who need it, will take items from the pantries, and that the community will see the pantries as their own and continue to restock and share.

The first pantry box is blue and gold in support of BVU colors and is located behind the Marketing and Communications building on the corner of Iowa St. and College Ave. The second pantry is red and gold located at Vestal and Ninth.