These 'public pantries' are popping up all around the world to help fight hunger
via Little Free Pantry Project / Instagram

According to Feeding America, an estimated 1 in 8 Americans are food insecure, that's roughly 40 million Americans including more than 12 million children.

And yet at the same time, 40% of the food produced in American goes uneaten, ending up in landfills.


In 2016, Jessica McClard of Fayetteville, Arkansas found a brilliant way to help the uneaten food get distributed to those who are hungry. Inspired by the Little Free Library movement, she decided to create the Little Free Pantry project based on the same premise.

RELATED: France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away

Little Free Libraries are small boxes, usually mounted on someone's front lawn, where neighbors can share books, like the "need a penny, take a penny" jar at a liquor store. The first known Little Free Library was started in 2009 by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his late mother who loved books. The movement has caught on and there are now over 90,000 public book exchanges in 91 countries across the world.

Little Free Library in Long Beach, CA.via Tod Perry

After McClard opened the first Little Free Pantry, she received an "immediate and overwhelmingly positive" response from her community and decided to spread the idea through the Little Free Pantry Project.

The Little Free Pantry concept is a win for everyone involved because it provides hungry people food on-demand while encouraging giving in communities.

RELATED: 15 delicious ways to reduce food waste

"The LFP is about feeding people, yes. But it's also about working together and about choosing reciprocity, trust, and grace over scarcity, mistrust, and judgment," McClard told World Hunger. "Less obvious but no less profound is the project's effect on stewards and communities. It changes them."

"You don't have to have a lot of time or a lot of money to give back in that way, and I think it opens up a lot of space for lots of different people to be involved," McClard told Global Citizen. "I believed it could be something that would catch."

In just three years, the idea has caught fire and over 650 pantry boxes have sprang up across the world.

"There's a real need for it in the neighborhood, and I don't like the thought of kids being hungry," Margot Baker, who has a Little Library-Little Pantry combo in her yard told, Global Citizen. "There's so much extra, and there's so much that can be done, why should anybody go hungry? For a few extra bucks a month, why can't I help?"

Looking to start a Little Food Pantry in your neighborhood? The Little Free Pantry Project has some steps to help you get started.

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Ahmed Hafnaoui had the swim of his life at just the right time on Sunday. After eeking into the men's 400-meter medal race in last place out of the eight finalists, the 18-year-old swimmer from Tunisia shocked everyone by taking home the gold in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Prior to the semi-finals, Hafnaoui wasn't even listed in the DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning list, so the fact that he overtook the Australian favorites to win was extra impressive. Australia's Jack McLoughlin won the silver and American Kieran Smith took home the bronze, and though the race was close, it wasn't that close by swimming standards. Hafnaoui was the fastest swimmer, hands-down, after being the slowest of the finalists just the day before.

This, as they say, is why they play the games.

And this footage of Hafnaoui's loved ones in Tunisia reacting to his epic win is why everyone loves an underdog.

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