Freeport Library now features little food pantry to help Walton County families

Special to The Destin Log/USA TODAY NETWORK
Standing by the Little Food Pantry at the Freeport Public Library are (from left) Brian Lundblom and Jesse Senn from Publix; Melissa Beadle, care management coordinator at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast; Walton County Public Library System Director Director Caitlin Cerise; and Linsey Hall, care coordinator for Ascension Sacred Heart and MyGulfCare.

FREEPORT — Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast has partnered with United Way of the Emerald Coast and the Walton County Public Library System to support a “Little Food Pantry” at the Freeport Public Library.

The pantry is available for people in the community who need extra support with food.

“We recognize that there are people in Walton County who struggle with food insecurity. We want to help,” said Linsey Hall, a nurse and lead care coordinator for the MyGulfCare program at the Ascension Sacred Heart hospital. 

Following approval from Freeport officials, three volunteers from Publix in Freeport installed the food pantry in front of the Freeport Public Library. The idea is that people in the local community will “take what they need and give what they can.” 

The food pantry is stocked with non-perishable food and hygiene products. United Way Emerald Coast will provide items for the first three fills. Then Ascension Sacred Heart will work with the Freeport Public Library to maintain the pantry. The hospital's staff has already donated $250 to restock supplies.

“We are hoping that the Walton County community will join us in efforts to keep it stocked," Hall said.  

Caitie Cerise, director for the Walton County Public Library System, added, “The Walton County Public Library System is thrilled to be supporting this project to meet a need in Freeport. This community has such a giving spirit, and we are excited to see how this pantry promotes a healthy and thriving Freeport."

Children from the library’s Summer Reading Program were excited to participate by placing their hands on the project. “The handprints on the pantry represent the 'helping hands' of the people of Freeport who are working together for a stronger, healthier community,” Cerise said. 

For more information about the program or to make a donation, contact the Population Health Department at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast at 850-278-3546.