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

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Date Started


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.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • T-Mobile page or contact

Inspired by (1)

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Elliott D

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!

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