St. Anthony Park Lutheran adds outdoor food pantry

By Mary Mergenthal

Seeking to address food needs of the homeless, the youth of St. Anthony Park Lutheran have established a Little Food Pantry which offers free nonperishable food to anyone in need, no questions asked.

Dan Morlock, former member of the SAPLC Youth Commission, came up with the idea about six years ago. He was touched by the needs of homeless people he’d encountered and struggled with how his church could help them.

The regular food shelves within the church simply didn’t reach the real need of the homeless. They were unknown to many in need and difficult to access. Morlock suggested piggybacking on little free libraries. The committee liked the idea.

John Seppanen offered to design the pantry and recruited Nico Zbacnik to help with building it, along with some youth from the congregation.

John prepared the pieces for the pantry, based on his design, while Ingrid Bollman, Molly Zbacnik and Greta Seppanen (along with Nico and John) got together this fall to build the pantry.

Bugle readers who would like to contribute nonperishable food (think food that will not freeze!), can bring it to the Luther Place church entrance during regular weekday office hours. (Toothbrushes, hygiene products and soap are also welcome.)

Please place your food inside the Luther Place entry or on the shelf by the offices there. Alternatively, all are welcome to join in 9:30 a.m. services any Sunday and put food contributions on the inside shelves at the Como end of the gathering room, next to the church sanctuary, for later addition to the outside pantry.

Picking up food items: If you need food (boxed or bagged items that will withstand outdoor temps any season), simply walk up to the food pantry on the patio in front of St. Anthony Park Lutheran, at Como Avenue and Luther Place. Just open the door and take what will help you. 

Shown with the St. Anthony Park Lutheran outdoor Food Pantry are Molly Zbacnik, Greta Seppanen and Ingrid Bollman. The idea for the outdoor pantry and a fair bit of the labor was the result of these young people and others from the church. Photo by John Seppanen.

Mary Mergenthal is a former Bugle editor and is a member of St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church.

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