KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A Kalamazoo woman has been working hard to keep a community food pantry stocked, but she couldn't do it alone.
Instead, she created a Facebook group in hopes others could help too.
"It was pretty empty when we came, so I got on Facebook and just created a group. I shared it in a lot of local groups," said Jessica Dugdale, a Kalamazoo woman who created a Facebook group to increase food pantry donations.
Jessica Dugdale found out about the food pantry through a friend, but when she went to check it out, it was pretty empty.
"I knew that there were a lot of people in need especially after the pandemic, which is still going on. I just wanted them to be able to come here and depend on it," said Dugdale.
Shortly after visiting the pantry for the first time, she came up with the idea to start the Facebook group "Kalamazoo Community Fridge & Pantry" in hopes she could reach more people who could also help keep it stocked.
"It ended up taking off really fast, so we are at like 1,100 members now. It has only been three days," said Dugdale.
Dugdale said the food pantry was built in December and opened in March. While it has only been around for a few months, it's really accessible for those who are food insecure or homeless.
"It’s nice, it’s open 24/7. There are a lot of pantries in the area, but you have to make an appointment. You can also only go a certain amount of times a month. They only let you take a limited amount of food to share with everyone," said Dugdale.
The food pantry is located behind People's Food Co-op.
It has a fridge as well as an area for dry and canned foods, toiletries, clothing and even blankets.
While many people have already started pitching in, Dugdale feels like there is still much more work to do to keep it running.
"I just want to reach more people. I want to get more people involved. I really just want to make sure it is stocked every day. I am worried about it dying down after a month or so, so I really hope people keep coming here," said Dugdale.
To donate, bring items directly to the food pantry behind People's Food Co-op at 507 Harrison Street.