Cupboards for Change! - Free Street Pantries for Those in Need

Community-donated items like canned foods and feminine hygiene products are placed in impoverished areas that are easily accessible to all.

Photo of Vivian Tran
23 18

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Date Started

05/28/2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

It's been by dream to start this project ever since I heard about the Little Free Pantry project on the news. What began in 2016 as one small community-donation based pantry on the U.S. East coast has expanded to many pantries all over Northern America. The real issue however, is that there are only about 300 of these free pantries worldwide(many of which currently only operate in large cities in the U.S.). This poses a huge problem because we are neglecting the impoverished in areas outside of these cities due to the lack of these easily accessible pantries that provide free necessities. Not only do I want to create more of these pop-up pantries in the United States to accommodate more people in need, but I also want to expand this project onto a worldwide scale. I want Cupboards for Change! help out many, not just in the U.S. but worldwide, who are in need of necessities such as food.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

World hunger and maintaining feminine hygiene have always been regarded as a problems that the impoverished face everyday, yet there exists a mentality that nothing can be done to solve these issues. The problem of world hunger and upholding feminine hygiene still exists in 2018 NOT because we aren't doing anything to help, but that not enough is being done. Establishing Cupboards for Change! would greatly reduce these worldwide problems.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I am planning to solve the problem of world hunger and lack of feminine hygiene amongst the impoverished by setting up various worldwide pantries stocked with community-donated necessities such as canned food, water, and feminine hygiene products in areas that are easily accessible to all. I want to solve the issue of hunger not just in the U.S. but also on a worldwide scale and will do so by placing these Cupboards for Change! stations worldwide!

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

It would be very simple for a person or group to be involved with Cupboards for Change! All they have to do is help restock the necessities and goods(ex. food and drink that do not require refrigeration, feminine hygiene products, etc) in already existing cupboards. They can also help out by setting up more Cupboards for Change! locations themselves! Both of these roles are crucial and will provide direct aid to the impoverished.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Cupboards for Change! is a project that greatly differs from other similar projects out there(such as soup kitchens/pantries and the Little Free Pantry Project) because it will be set on a worldwide scale to exterminate issues that many impoverished people face everyday. Many of these similar projects only exist within the United States and a handful of them in Europe, so I want to expand these reform projects to 3rd-world countries where the largest amount of help is needed.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

My project is still in the making, but I plan on making a difference within the impoverished population of not just my community, but everywhere. I plan on reducing the problems that the impoverished face everyday such as starvation and lack of feminine hygiene due to unsatisfactory sanitation until these issues become exterminated.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I want to kick start this project and get it under way before World Hunger Day 2018(October 16th)! I would also like to partner with the Little Free Pantry organization because they have inspired me to set up these pantries of my own. This upcoming year, I want to focus on setting up more of these free pantries in states on the West coast as many of them now are currently located on the East coast! I would also be extremely interested in partnering with the Hunger Project especially during their World Hunger Day activities in order to set my project on a worldwide scale.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

In order to make my vision a reality, I plan on recruiting many in my community as well as other communities worldwide in helping me set up these free and easily accessible pantries as well as stocking them with goods such as food and drink not requiring refrigeration and feminine hygiene products. To raise these funds to set up these Cupboards for Change! locations, I plan on organizing various fundraising efforts online through GoFundMe and within my community. Hunger and feminine hygiene are still huge worldwide problems that exist today within impoverished communities even in the 21st century, but it requires the help of everyone worldwide to solve it and we can do so by being involved with Cupboards for Change!

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

There are many non-profit organizations out there such as The Little Free Pantry as well as local soup kitchens that reach out to impoverished communities to provide them with the necessities they need. Thus, I plan on partnering with other young people and changemakers that intend to bring any form of aid to the impoverished whether it be through providing them with goods such as food and water as well as healthcare and medical services. I believe that Cupboards for Change! can grow and improve tremendously from the experience of working together with other innovative young thinkers.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • T-Mobile page or contact

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

John Legere's Twitter post!

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 50%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 37.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 37.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 62.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 37.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 75%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 50%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 37.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

Inspired by (1)

Got Food?

23 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Elliott D
Team

I feel as though making these pantries is something that can be done easily. We have quite a few in my city for food or books. Building/constructing these small drop boxes can be something that you and others could learn to do from a professional and then do on your own. You could even make them out of recycled materials or by repurposing old wood. Small donations for things like nails would be needed but could be easily obtainable. Maybe you could start a club in your school to build these boxes!

Spam
Photo of Semran Thamer
Team

Hello! Disparities in access to food and feminine hygiene products is a huge problem throughout the US, especially where I'm from, NYC. This is definitely something that needs to be tackled and its great to hear your efforts in taking the initiative towards change. With Socio Connect we're trying to address issues like these by identifying local community-based resources that offer such items and have found that these are unfortunately very limited so there is definitely a need for pantries or other locations that offer such products! Thanks for sharing!

Spam
Photo of Elizabeth
Team

This is a cool idea, and I've never seen anything like it in Hawaii, where I live--and homelessness is a huge problem here. I love that you thought to include period products in your pantries, and I would absolutely love to partner with you and your project to stock the pantries with pads, tampons, and underwear! The idea gets me so excited!
I think my only concern would be keeping the pantries stocked continuously, but I think there are definitely ways to overcome this challenge. For example, creating a restocking schedule among community volunteers--it seems boring, but in my experience volunteering with food banks, the most donations come during the holiday season, around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and donations during the days between can get pretty sparse. A schedule could be one way to go, if a restocking problem does arise. This is such an awesome and unique idea! Keep up the great work!

Spam
Photo of https://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutG Haidar
Team

Hi Vivian, this is a great project! My project, the Party Project also works with low-income, homeless youth in my community. There are some great resources out there to help you get started, I received grants from YSA and also Peace First to fund my project, so definitely check them out and see if they have any grant opportunities open. Best of luck with your project!!!

https://network.changemakers.com/challenge/tmochangemakerchallenge/community-review/the-party-project

Spam
Photo of Ezra Bram
Team

Wow! I think this is such a practical solution that many areas could benefit from. I think managing the individual cupboards could be a challenge, but a challenge that is certainly worth undertaking! Another great addition would be fresh socks! That is the most requested item among the poor, because they are on their feet and wearing shoes so much. I hope that helps! We would love to support you and your idea by integrating it into our CATALYST COFFEE AND TAPHOUSE idea! Check us out if you start anything in Denver!

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Ezra Bram : Until you brought it up, I never even thought about including items such as socks into the cupboard- I only focused on the major needs of food, water, and sanitation. I will definitely consider adding socks as well as shoes, school materials, and other small, yet meaningful items to these cupboards. I also took a look at your idea proposal and I absolutely love and relate to what you trying to accomplish. My mother is a Vietnam War refugee herself and it frustrates me when her and the stories of other refugees are left untold. Your idea CATALYST COFFEE AND TAPHOUSE would definitely shed light on silenced voices.

Spam
Photo of Adam Nicholson
Team

Also, check out Got Food? 
These guys seem to be working on a project that would be awesome to incorporate into Cupboards for Change! - Free Street Pantries for Those in Need 

Great work so far! Im so excited to see where you take this. Let me know if you need a hand with anything.
-Adam CATALYST COFFEE AND TAPHOUSE 

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Thank you so much for suggesting me to look at Got Food? 's idea proposal page. We definitely can benefit from working together especially in making it easier for the impoverished to find the resources they need more easier!

Spam
Photo of Ezra Bram
Team

Hey Vivian. I was thinking more last night and realized I heard of this perfect sock brand that I'm sure would love to partner with you. Check out https://bombas.com/pages/giving-back! I think they would fit perfectly into your cupboards!

Spam
Photo of Ryan Vu
Team

I like it! I think this is a great way to promote a trusting and loving community. Two thumbs up!

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

I really appreciate your support, Ryan! Look forward to seeing Cupboards for Change! in your community soon!

Spam
Photo of Britney Tran
Team

I love you and your idea

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Thanks Britney! I'm a huge fan of you too! :)

Spam
Photo of Natalie Laky
Team

This is a really cool idea, I'm glad you're working to battle food insecurity in your community. I was wondering what your strategy will be to manage individual pantries-- how will you prevent sabotage of the food items, dangerous items, or people taking advantage of the generous donations? I'm sure you will figure it out but I am very curious because it seems like a real challenge if/when you decide to expand the project. Good luck!

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Natalie Laky Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my idea proposal! I definitely feel that managing the theft of the stocked items in the cupboards would be a huge challenge in some neighborhoods, but I want to leave this risk up to those who decide to take(whether it be with good or bad intentions) from these cupboards. I want Cupboards for Change! - Free Street Pantries for Those in Need to be a system that relies on having utmost trust. I trust that people will not take more than what they need knowing that it would negatively affect the others that come after them. Yes, this trust in absolute strangers can be easily manipulated, but knowing that these free cupboards are helping at least one person is worth the while.

Spam
Photo of Natalie Laky
Team

I completely understand and respect your point of view. I think it's so important to recognize that initiatives like yours sometimes need to take risks, and that you're willing to work with any setbacks you might face to keep helping people one at a time. Keep it up!

Spam
Photo of Old Friend
Team

This is amazing and really innovative. Maybe we could collaborate and include a section with things like books and arts supplies(along with things The Nightlight Project(Helping Bring Light Into the Young Lives That Need it Most.) plans to provide). That way while providing food and sanitary items, we could provide things to help spread knowledge and help people as a whole find new interests!

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Leilani Serbousek  I absolutely LOVE your idea of spreading and promoting creativity through these care packages! I totally agree with your idea in including an educational aspect within the items stocked in the cupboards because they will serve as encouragement for those in need that they are capable of doing greater and bigger things. Thanks again for coming up with such an inspirational idea that fuels the growth of those in need!

Spam
Photo of Old Friend
Team

No problem! Thank you for considering adding them! I believe this entry is gonna go far, most likely the top 25. It's insanely creative. even if it doesn't, it will go far in every aspect. You're going to help so many people.

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Leilani Serbousek I truly think that your idea of sending care packages to is very creative and innovative in providing important educational materials to those who can't afford them. Your idea is also very applicable on a large scale because lacking the resources to educational materials is a worldwide issue that is in need of a solution. No need to doubt yourself, you will go far with your idea proposal. :)

Spam
Photo of Old Friend
Team

Thank you so much! If you ever need any help or want to branch out to Arizona just email me(leilani.a.serbousek@gmail.com) and I'm down to help! So many people will benefit from your idea and it would be an honor to help it grow.

Spam
Photo of Madison H
Team

I love this concept! I have never heard of anything quite like it before.

Spam
Photo of Vivian Tran
Team

Thanks for taking your time to read through my idea proposal and I really enjoyed yours as well. I was really shocked to find out about just how important butterflies are in serving as keystone species for other organisms and animals. Thanks a ton for educating me more about the huge role that butterflies play in facilitating pollination!