Statewide hunger initiative comes to local Council on Aging

By Paige Nash

It was just a year ago that local hunger fighter Ethan Jeffus launched a new initiative – Little Free Pantry Louisiana. Right now, he has about ten locations across Louisiana, and he has now partnered with Citizens National Bank to add another location in the corner parking lot of the Webster Parish Council on Aging. This will make number three in Webster Parish alone. 

“The Little Free Pantry Louisiana Initiative is the statewide leading force in connecting and implementing Little Free Pantries across the state to fight against hunger insecurity,” said Jeffus. 

Statistically, Louisiana ranks in the top five in the country when it comes to hunger insecurity. 

 “That estimates out to about over 600,000 people, just in our state, who suffer from hunger insecurity,” said Jeffus. 

Jeffus has previously volunteered at local food banks and pantries but wanted to make food and other necessities more accessible outside of those sources. 

“Food banks and pantries work hand in hand with the Little Free pantries in the goal of providing food and other essentials to those in need, but food pantries and food banks are manned by volunteers and employees, so they are not open 24/7,” said Jeffus. “So, that is really the point of the Little Free Pantries- to provide that resource to allow in the circumstances where maybe it’s the weekend and the food pantry isn’t open or maybe it is late at night, and somebody needs a little snack.” 

He pointed out that the success of this pantry and others across the state are dependent on the community being involved and donating items.  

“A lot of people congratulate me on this, but I really want to extend that congratulations out to the community,” said Jeffus. “It’s the community, random and anonymous people who just see the Little Free Pantry and challenge themselves to step up and make a difference that way.” 

With September being Hunger Action Month, donating to a pantry is one way to get involved in the fight against hunger to help ensure that families do not have to choose between going hungry or paying for other important necessities like clothing or utilities.   

Other items that can be donated besides food, are household supplies, cleaning products, first aid kits, laundry detergent or toiletries. Donors could also stock the pantry with clothing essentials, such as underwear or socks.   

The little free pantry is always open, unlike a regular food pantry, it does not operate during regular business hours. There is no lock on the box. Donors and residents in need can come and go as they please. Community involvement is crucial for the success of this initiative.  

For those interested in utilizing the pantry or donating to them, visit The website contains a map detailing all the registered pantries across the state.