COLORADO SPRINGS — What used to be a neighborhood’s fully stocked mini pantry, The Pikes Peak Little Free Pantry (PPLFP) needs more contributions now more than ever.

The Pikes Peak Little Free Pantry provides access to free food, toiletries, personal items, and more for anyone who needs it 24/7. The neighborhood-friendly pantry has dwindled in its provision to the locals since living expenses have risen and the cost of housing, gas, and food have increased.

Hailey Radvillas, the founder of her neighborhood’s mini pantry, says she usually expects about one or two visitors a day. The weekends see more visitors since families have more time to spare.

Radvillas gave life to the mini pantry movement in Colorado Springs in January 2021. During the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest throughout the nation, Radvillas wanted to uplift and give hope to her fellow neighbors.

“It’s nice to know that you have people you can rely on and people out there who care when you need help,” said Radvillas.

She and her husband set out and bought an old kitchen cabinet and constructed a makeshift roof. They even used concrete to secure posts in the ground after learning the hard way the need for a stabilizer. When a wind storm pushed over the pantry, neighbors, family members, and friends came together to rebuild the mini pantry stronger than ever.

Radvilla reached out to local artist, Elizabeth Lawrence, to paint and design the mini pantry. The mini pantry is expanding to include a fridge for residents to donate fresh produce and dairy products. Radvilla will involve another local artist known as Momo-Xo, to paint the small shelter built for the fridge that will become available in May.

Feeling that, “the sense of community is missing a lot these days,” Radvillas hopes that her mini pantry will create a safe space for neighbors who need resources while piquing local awareness of food insecurity.

“I’d love to see more people use their property to share materials with each other,” said Radvillas. “It would be nice to have more places for the neighbors to get resources, especially when so many of my visitors have to drive, walk, and bike so far.”

Colorado Springs residents can donate to PPLFP located at 516 West Pikes Peak Avenue.

Others in the area who want to donate can go to the Little Free Pantry web page to find a list of locations around the state.