From Bookcase to Community Food Pantry

May 14, 2020

Many families are experiencing economic pain and food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis and community organizations have stepped up to help. As they work to gather food and cleaning supply donations, these organizations and volunteers often need building materials to help them in their work.

Robin Bliss, a visual merchandiser who creates retail displays for stores across the country, found herself out of work in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When she found out that a local arts organization wanted to start a food pantry for its residents, she offered up her design skills to help support the cause.

The group applied for a grant through Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks Program, which distributes free building materials for projects that serve the community. Robin explains that she found an old bookcase at Community Forklift and transformed it into a food pantry with a fresh coat of paint. “White vinyl ‘pantry silhouettes’ were cut out and applied to the back of the shelf – and suggest the pantry items that were needed. The pantry was used as a fun social media post for the organization to help encourage donations and help hold the back stock for the weekly food distribution,” Robin said.

We’d like to thank all of the community partners and volunteers like Robin that are striving to support communities during these uncertain times.


Did you know that you can reuse a cabinet as a food pantry?
The Mt. Rainier Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) used Forklift materials to build a little free pantry on the school grounds for anyone in the community facing food insecurity. “We were happy to use the materials and be creative with them,” said Mt. Rainier PTO Co-Vice President Timothy M.

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Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse. We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.