Across the state, located inconspicuously in neighborhood yards and parks, there are coves of books called “Little Free Libraries.” Titles are donated by locals with the idea that we all could use a good book to check out now and again. And many of us have an extra book to leave for someone else to enjoy.
The North Stars 4-H Club in Lac qui Parle County built and are frequent contributors to the library in their area. In the past couple of weeks, as the threat of COVID-19 closed schools and community centers, they decided books were not enough. They now place non-perishable food in their town’s Little Free Library with the hope that young children who can’t find a dependable lunch, and the elderly who are at a high risk of contracting the virus, will find the food helpful. “I had seen a post on Facebook where someone else had done this,” said Jennifer Matthies of Bellingham. “Since we already had the Little Free Library in place, this was an easy idea.” She sent a message to her fellow leaders and the idea was set into motion.
For the Gloege family, this was an opportunity to really benefit the rural area they live in. “We are in an uncertain and frankly scary time,” Christie Gloege said. “If the food helps one family stay close to home and practice social distancing then it is worth doing.”
Club members have donated their time and food supply to make sure that it stays full. “My daughter and I just went on Sunday to put a couple of items in there, so I am hoping others will do the same,” said Gloege. This club is confident that setting a good example will spur others to similar actions of help and support. “The more we work together to make even small changes, the larger changes come. The feedback received on this idea has been so positive and we do hope it inspires others.”
This club in Lac qui Parle is a model for living the 4-H pledge. They have taken it into their own hands to make a difference in their community. “Hopefully if the community sees a need they are willing to help by donating even just one item. A little can go so far!”
By Catie Schmidt
University of Minnesota student
Wisconsin 4-H alum