CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWQC) – Joyce Levingston wants to help the needy because she understands their struggle.
“I know what it’s like to be hungry and live below the poverty level,” Levingston says.
“I am a single mom of four children, had my first child at 15, never attended high school because I had to work.”
Today, Levingston, 30, is a grad student at the University of Northern Iowa who is working to help those struggling as she once did.
The Cedar Falls resident is starting “Little Free Pantries,” a project already in place in other parts of the country which is designed to be a short-term safety net for the area’s hungry.
Homemade boxes are installed in public places where those with food can give and those who need food can take.
Levingston has spearheaded a grassroots effort, raising money online and getting her neighbor to help build three 2 ½-foot-tall boxes, two of which will be installed in Waterloo and one in Cedar Falls.
LFP is designed to help children and adults who may sometimes fall between the cracks in certain situations, such as when traditional food pantries are unable to meet a needy individual’s immediate hunger needs.
“Not everybody has an ID to use our food bank,” Levingston says. “And those who are using the food bank, over 60 percent are choosing between medication and food!
Levingston is hoping the more fortunate will get involved and support the free food pantries year-round.
The donations Levingston says are most useful include non-perishable items like rice, ramen noodles, dry-packaged spaghetti sauces, dry soup packs, hamburger helpers, and dried fruit.
Anyone with questions may contact Levingston via Facebook by clicking here.
Her first three pantries are set to open Monday, three days before Thanksgiving.