As the pandemic began to overstay its welcome in September of 2020, Jennifer and Adam Parker knew they wanted to do more to help those in need—so they converted what was once a tiny library in their front yard into a tiny food pantry, which has since been rebuilt to be as large as a typical kitchen pantry, even including a mini fridge for perishable items.
Standing tall in front of the Parker home on W. 71st Street in Overland Park, the tiny pantry has flourished to the point where Jennifer and Adam have more donations than they know what to do with. Jennifer says they’re moving between two and three tons of donations a month.
“We currently have the pantry occupying not only the front of our house, but one full bedroom, three-fourths of the garage and now it’s cramped into my family room,” Jennifer says.
In the first two weeks it operated, Jennifer worried they would go bankrupt trying to fully supply the pantry. But after discovering and gaining a following through the Nextdoor app, the tiny pantry was self-sustaining within two months, and the Penny Pantry Times support group was formed––now standing at six hundred and seventy members.
Of all that she’s accomplished with the tiny pantry, Jennifer is most proud of the community she has seen come together and the people she would have never met otherwise. “We have now hundreds of people that we have met that are either donors or recipients or in some cases both, and it has been so rewarding to see how they are relieved,” she says. With such exponential growth in the past two years, Jennifer and Adam have realized they don’t have the space in their home to hold such a generous amount of donations. “It’s a wonderful problem to have,” Jennifer says.