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Community Hero: Michelle’s Little Free Pantry

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. -- Any of us could be one life event away from being food insecure. Like every county, Johnson County has a hunger problem.

In fact, over 40% of children are on free and reduced lunch, one woman decided to do something--to help fill the gap when pantries are closed or people can't get to them. Little did she know it would bring her community together around a mission of compassion.

Michelle Waugh Dahl wanted to do something to help hungry families in her Johnson County community. This mom of five came up with an idea she never thought would take off like it did. She put a wooden cabinet outside her house with food and toilet paper. Michelle's Little Free Pantry was born!

Two years later, the pantry is bigger, she has a Facebook page with 18,000 followers and she's bringing her community together while helping families get through tough times. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week people can stop by Michelle's Little Free Pantry outside her house and take whatever they need.  People in the community quickly caught on and started donating because it's an easy way to help their neighbor.

"Food is comfort and it's security and if I can help people feel that when they are going through a rough time then that is what I want. Nobody should be scared about what food they are eating for the night especially with their kids," Michelle said.

Michelle just added a second Little Free Pantry in Greenwood and she has plans to keep expanding.  Now, when other pantries are closed, people in Johnson County have another option to get help fast.

FOX59 and Community Health Network are excited to honor Michelle Waugh Dahl for her efforts to serve others while bringing her community together around a movement of compassion.  Congratulations Michelle for being the August Community Hero of the Month 2019.

For more information on Michelle's Little Free Pantry, visit them on Facebook.

If you would like to nominate someone you know as Community Hero, click here.

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