LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Wouldn't it be nice if you could go somewhere and pick up one of life's bare necessities, for free, no questions asked? Well, there is such a place now, in Lake Charles.
In the 700 Block of Division Street in Lake Charles is Little Free Pantry and Little Free Library. It's a joint project of Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School and a local rotary club, along with others partners, who are supplying with food, personal hygiene items and books.
Middle school students like 7th grader Carson Condos have taken the lead on managing and restocking the items.
"Stuff that people actually need were being taken, which showed me people aren't just taking it because they want it, people are taking it because they need it. I feel like it's doing a lot of good," he said.
Annie Hachtel is in 6th grade.
"I'd like to see just less people on the streets suffering," she said.
Principal Reverend Boo Kay says the pantry, which is a national program, is being well used in the community.
"It's not necessarily the homeless. It may be people who are living on a shoestring in a home and just need an extra can or two of this or that, vegetables and fruits, to get through the last week of the month," she said.
Teacher Joy Castle explains the project teaches children lessons that don't necessarily come from a book.
"We were concerned about the holidays and being out of school for two weeks, so the last day of school I had the kids bring items and it was like a Christmas miracle," said Castle. "My classroom was covered with things. Every table in there had stuff on it."
Books are important, too, says Hachtel, who hopes to spread joy and comfort through reading.
"It can help because it might ease your mind to read something, especially for adults, because if you're stressed out, reading a book can kind of help you lower your stress and just relax for a little while," she said.
In the spring they hope to add fresh fruit and vegetables. They hope their efforts will spark others to do the same, thereby spreading care and kindness.
Anyone can bring anything and put it in at any time. It's just a community-based project that we hope might take off and other people could put one at their church or their school or where there's foot traffic," said Kay.
While local groups can explore the possibility of doing their own Little Free Pantry or Library, those with items to donate can add them to the pantry on Division Street or a large quantity of any item may be dropped off at EDS School, next to Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Church, 715 Kirkman Street.