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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Little Free Libraries become food pantries in Sussex County

A retired University of Delaware Centers for Drug and Health Studies employee is turning the Little Free Libraries concept into a food distribution network in Sussex County. 


The goal is to help more people in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.



Katherine Ware recently created three Little Free Libraries - but instead of books - they’re offering nonperishable food items.

Ware says she got the idea after watching a TV show about the Little Free Library Movement with her daughter and grandson, “What the story that we saw was - is that there is a little lending library in every little community where you could go take a book out and take another book back. It was just a free library.”

Ware says with so many people needing help getting food during the coronavirus pandemic, many of these libraries are replacing the books with food, “And we thought that was a really neat idea. So, a gentleman named James Riordan - he is the director of The MORE Foundation - it’s a local area non profit. He looked up plans online for a little library that would be substantial and that would be easy to place in different places.”


Riordan explained why he wanted to fund this project, "We feel very strongly that Americans need to make sure that all the kids and pets and citixeens of this great country, never go hungry.”


Riordan says his agency initially gave Ware $1,000 to stock each pantry, and will continue to fund them as long at COVID-19 persists, “But what we’re finding is that people are already dropping off items in the little libraries as well as picking items up.”

People can get or drop off food at each of the three locations. The first pantry is on Janice Road near the Whispering Pines entrance of the Lewes Senior Activity Center. The second is located in downtown Lewes on Third Street - in front of Emporium Antiques Centre. And the third is located at Dawn’s Country Market at the intersection of Route 1 and Cave Neck Road in Milton.


Nuttle Lumber donated the materials to build the pantries and a local craftsman donated his time to build them. 


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.
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