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Little Free Pantry to offer 24/7 service to Crown Point community
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Little Free Pantry to offer 24/7 service to Crown Point community

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CROWN POINT —  The city is now home to a little free food pantry. 

Late last week, the pantry planted its roots at the Crown Point Police Department, 124 N. East St. — a project long in the making. 

Nearly two years ago, Cadette Girl Scout Troop 30203 appeared before the city's Board of Works seeking approval for the project to earn their Cadette Silver Award — the second-highest scouting award. 

The troop raised money for the project, but as the girls got older, time slipped away from them and the troop disbanded. 

"We were all gung-ho we went through the Board of Works and got the approval for it. We looked up the designs for it, the girls made the money for it," said former Troop Leader Kara Graper. 

Three Juliette Girl Scouts, who work on projects independently with guidance from a parent or caregiver, worked together to see the project through. 

At the end of 2019, Graper said she noticed Hometown Happenings mentioned wanting to bring the little pantries to the city, which reignited the project. 

Graper said the pantry is larger from a traditional Little Free Pantry, and has a door that latches to keep the food safe from the elements and any animals. 

The pantry will accept nonperishable items.

"I think it would benefit everybody a lot. I've seen that there's the little library things ... we all thought that it would be a cool idea to do that, but with food," said 13-year-old Ava Graper, one of the Juliette scouts. 

Ava Graper, along with Madelyn Eenigenburg and Brianna Hulen, will maintain the pantry by checking on it weekly. 

"It means a lot to me that we can help the people that don't have the ability to obtain food. Three-hundred thousand children in the state of Indiana alone don't know where their next meal is coming from. So it's important that we try to help them by the best way we can," Eenigenburg said. 

Hulen, who presented to the Board of Works in 2018, shared the same message with board members, adding the pantry has a dual-purpose: serving those with food insecurities, while providing a purpose for those who want to give. 

"It's a relief. It's definitely been a weight on our shoulders," Ava Graper said, adding she hopes younger generations get involved with the pantry. 

For Tim Fealy, president of Hometown Happenings, getting involved with the pantry made sense, given the group's mission: working together for a healthier, happier community. 

"There's a lot of unseen food vulnerability. You don't necessarily notice it, but certainly if people don't have access to food, that's really going to decrease their ability to live a healthier life," Fealy said. 

Fealy added the Hometown Happenings supports various local food pantries with funds raised from its events, like the Santa Run, Walk & Ride.

"A number of the runs are starting to focus on trying to get food in the hands of people that need (it)," Fealy said. 

Hometown Happenings was going to use funds from a winter run to open pantries in the city, an idea Fealy heard from his friend Maureen Carroll. 

"The one thing that we were thinking about is the food pantry is great, but oftentimes it's once a month that you can pick up food," Fealy said. "With the free food pantry, you can go to the police station at any time and grab food — that 24/7 access we thought was super important." 

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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