People's Pantry Cincinnati transforms old newspaper boxes into miniature food pantries

Posted at 8:54 AM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 08:55:25-04

CINCINNATI -- Old newspaper boxes are finding new life as miniature, 24-hour food pantries providing for low-income and homeless people all over the city.

This spring, People's Pantry Cincinnati earned a grant from People's Liberty to place the fancifully painted vending machines in 10 neighborhoods around the city that allow community members to leave non-perishable food and toiletries inside for those in need. Like those little libraries that have sprung up around the country, people can come and go as they please, taking any item free of charge from the "Food Bots."

"If you're short on a can of beans or you're hungry, this one in particular is great cause it's got a lot of pop tops so you don't need a can opener, so if someone's homeless they can have something to eat," said founder Lisa Andrews.

Andrews is a dietician, mother of two and volunteers for the Freestore Foodbank, according to the People's Liberty website. She has seen the negative health effects of malnutrition in Cincinnati like obesity and heart disease, especially in food deserts. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food deserts are areas where a substantial number of residents live in poverty and have limited access to affordable and nutritious food options.

The boxes were donated by The Cincinnati Enquirer, according to the People's Liberty website. Check the map below to find where the Food Bots are located.