Dangerous Compassions

little free pantry

Hello, how are you doing?  Isn’t this little free pantry beautiful in the gleaming sunrise light?

little free pantry

Free is my favorite flavor.  Little free libraries are cool, and I’ve known about them for a while.  They feed the mind.  But little free pantries will feed the tummy.  How lovely.

This one had inside some cans of beans, a can of tomato sauce, some pasta, a jar with markers and a few cough drops, a can of corn…  I thought about taking the large can of garbanzo beans and making hummus, as I had garlic, tahini, salt, olive oil, and a blender available to me.  But the can seemed too big like I couldn’t eat or share it skillfully.


Just one block over was a little free pantry / little free library combination.  They have a dog water bowl, a bench, and a sign inviting us to sit and read.  Wow, so much!  I love it.  One day when we walked by, there was a cooler with cold water bottles and ice, and a sign with instructions saying one bottle per person.

“Pick a book for me to read,” I asked Ming.

He picked out a novel I’d heard of from multiple people.  I rejected it.

“They have A Wrinkle in Time,” Ming said.

“Oh, cool!” I said.  It was a new copy, and I read the first ten pages easily, happy to visit those characters I’ve known since I was a child.


It was comforting, and Ming told me he’s never read it.  Wow, that book put stuff in my head that I really need there.


There was some rice in the little free pantry that also had the books.  We needed rice.  Was it appropriate for us to take some?

Hmm, we do have money right now.  And we have credit cards, if we run out of money.  Was the rice only for people with more poverty than ours?  True, we are technically homeless.  But staying with friends, we have our beloved rice cooker with us, and access to water and electricity.  So making rice is great for us and super possible.  We cook and eat rice every day.

Homeless people are more poor than us, but they would have a hard time making rice.  To have a pot with lid and sustain a fire for 20 minutes at a hobo camp is unlikely.  So we took the bag of rice and are eating it happily.

Poverty is confusing.  I’ve had times in my life that I felt bad for taking a resource, then looked back and guffawed at how poor I was, and how in denial I was about it.

Having no money, having debt, having credit, having a relative who might give us a hundred bucks if we ask…  Would you have taken the bag of rice?  We checked the date, and it’s rather fresh.  I think we’re ok recipients of this rice.

Let me know if you have any other ideas about this.  Ethics are important.


Lots of ways to do love in this world.  Little free pantries and libraries are a cool way to share with others.  I put some zines in the little free libraries and hope someone enjoys the words.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *