Steward Story: The Sharing Pantry

The following was written by Linda Osifat, busy mom, cherished friend, community organizer, and champion of the Middletown, PA, Sharing Pantry.


“Hey, Cristina!” – “I saw this amazing idea on Facebook today, and I think we should do it!”

That’s how I remember telling my best friend about the Little Free Pantry.

I get excited about so many things in life. One of them is seeing positive stories!  I quickly looked into this, printed some information, then continued on with my busy life; 3 boys, a full time job, and day to day living.  I loved the thought of making our own Little Free Pantry.

Truth be told I really did love the idea of doing this, but most likely it was just that for me…an idea.  Someone out there had more time than I did obviously…they could come up with this notion and share it.  They even had a website of how to build the pantry. Brilliant, but again, how could I possibly do this? Alone?

I have a wonderful best friend let me tell you.  She didn’t forget about the Little Free Pantry, and over the next year, she asked about it a few times.

You see, she was doing a lot already, too, but always seemed to find time for others. She volunteers for Hospice; she sends cards, texts & quotes daily; she walks dogs, cooks, cleans, shops and is a caretaker for many.  I’m sure I’ve missed so many more things.

Linda Osifat (me), Leslie Hughes (painted the sign and the verbiage on the front), Shelly Sides

Linda Osifat (me), Leslie Hughes (painted the sign and the verbiage on the front), Shelly Sides

The more I thought about it, I realized I COULD do a Pantry, too.  See, I believe God puts inspiring people in your life for a reason. You can either choose to ignore them or run with them.  I decided to pursue this idea for my town.

I went to a town meeting with the Little Free Pantry idea.

It was approved. I had someone offer to build it. He took an old dresser, refurbished it and even added new doors. I had a few close friends paint the name and message on it.  I and a few other friends and family stocked it.

Raul Perez Jr. – My Best Friend Cristina Alterio’s dad who refurbished an old dresser.

Raul Perez Jr. – My Best Friend Cristina Alterio’s dad who refurbished an old dresser.

I went back to that same town meeting later and told them we were ready. And guess what? Our town’s version of the Little Free Pantry has been delivered to its destination. 

“The Sharing Pantry”

I can’t say there weren’t a few bumps along the way.  What I realized is that we really DO have time if we make it, and we don’t have to do it “alone” if we just ask others for help. 

My youngest son recently reminded me, "Mom, we really can change the world one person at a time,” as we delivered donuts on Labor Day to the homeless. There is always time to help others.

 Landin and Preston Osifat, my two youngest boys, and I didn’t even have to bribe them to help (haha), Shelly Sides

 Landin and Preston Osifat, my two youngest boys, and I didn’t even have to bribe them to help (haha), Shelly Sides

“helping a person will not necessarily change the world, but it will change the world for that person” thatonerule:#1131