Following the initiative of Maribor students, the idea of community pantries is growing – now there are already two in Maribor, and we can expect even more in the future.
Take or share is an initiative of master’s students in sociology Faculty of Philosophy UMin the framework of which she was already a few months ago MKC Maribor a community pantry set up.
It is an outdoor “closet” where anyone can make a small donation in the form of non-perishable food, clothing or hygiene items, which individuals in need can then collect themselves from the community pantry.
After the success of the first community pantry in Maribor before MKC Maribor now the idea is growing – in October, a new community store was installed in front of it MČ Studenciand in the future we can expect even more storages of this type in Maribor.
The idea of community pantries is thus currently running under auspices Banks of ideas – financial fund and mentoring MKC Maribor, the vision of community pantries comes from a student idea…
What is a community pantry anyway?
It is an anonymous service that offers basic or urgent necessities to people living in poverty. Individuals who want to help donate goods to the community pantry, while those in precarious situations take what they need.
A project assignment that developed into the Maribor revolution of solidarity
“The idea was born this year in the spring as part of the Applied Social Psychology course, where we were given the task of implementing an intervention that affects a selected social problem,” explains Nikita Pongracicone of a group of students behind Take or share community pantry projects:
“As master’s students in sociology, we decided to set up this community pantry, which is already a fairly well-known and working concept abroad for helping individuals in need, given the perceived problem of poverty.”
The master’s students of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Maribor are behind the idea of community pantries or the Take or Share project: Nikita Pongračič, Stefani Branilović, Kaja Tome, Laura Glavač, Tjaša Glavač and Oliver Baklan.
“In order to realize this vision, we started working with the Maribor Youth Cultural Center, which approved the installation of a storeroom in front of the administrative building. Because they saw the potential of the project, after the first implementation they invited us to join the program “Ideas Bank 2023 – Local fund for young people with ideas”, whose purpose is to encourage voluntary work among young people. After establishing contact with the Studenci district, it offered a home for the second community pantry in the whole of Maribor, for which we are very grateful.” he adds.
So what effect do community pantries have on the local environment in which they are placed? The students trust us that the response has been positive so far, and they say that they also have some information about the first community pantry.
The need for community pantries is evident
The latter showed “… that the need for such a service on the part of vulnerable groups definitely exists, but that the volume of donations from the surrounding area should increase significantly, since we contributed the vast majority of goods ourselves. We believe that this was not an indication of the fruitlessness of the project, but a reflection of insufficient public awareness, which arose as a result of the limited time of the project at the time.”
“However, when setting up the second community storeroom, we also connected with Janko Padežnik’s Primary School,” the students further explain and add that they have formed an action group of enthusiastic students at the school, who will dutifully monitor the number of donated and taken goods for a longer period of time and, at the end, write a report on the success of the community pantry.
Soon community pantries will also be in other city districts
The two community pantries in Maribor are just the beginning… As the young students tell us, it currently seems that the initiative will continue to develop, “… because they are some city districts have already expressed their desire to set up their own community pantry.”
What can you contribute to the community pantry yourself? Non-perishable food (e.g. canned food, rice, pasta), hygiene items (e.g. shower gels, razors, sanitary napkins), cleaning agents…
“In any case, the probability of setting up new warehouses will be affected by the success of the existing ones, so we urge everyone to contribute to the further development of the project according to their abilities.” še they add.
»The idea of a community pantry symbolizes the desire to create a solidary and inclusive community. We want as many people as possible to adopt this project as their own and join us in creating a lasting impact on the lives of our fellow citizens. Any support, whether through donations or raising awareness, is invaluable.”
As they conclude: »The idea of a community pantry symbolizes the desire to create a solidary and inclusive community. We want as many people as possible to adopt this project as their own and join us in creating a lasting impact on the lives of our fellow citizens. Any support, whether through donations or raising awareness, is invaluable.”
For a more solidary society
They are also proud of the cooperation with young students and spreading the visibility of community pantries MKC Mariborwhere they are convinced that the initiative emphasizes the importance, desire and self-initiative of young people in actively integrating into society, highlighting current social challenges and the desire for positive change.
“We want the local community to recognize the community pantry as necessary and accept it as their own in the long term: both by taking things from it by those who need it, as well as by filling the pantry by the rest, so that in this way through an anonymous service we are building a more solidary society,” he adds Eva Žunecindependent professional associate at MKC Maribor.
They also trust us that they are on MKC Maribor currently in talks to continue setting up community pantries after The municipality of Mariborwhich we can expect in the coming year.
»We think this is a great indicator of how a good idea can spread around and make an important step in connecting different stakeholders in the city. In the end, it also reaches individuals in need in the local community because of the good-hearted people who are involved in the process, especially after the end of our project, i.e. the installation of the pantry itself.” conclude.