Courtney - Lenox Little Free Pantry Captain

posted on Friday, February 11, 2022

“I really see a need for this in the community, but some families are embarrassed to talk about their situation or go to the neighborhood center; it’s a pride thing. Now, because of the pantry, you’ll see kids go grab snacks after school, and they don’t have to ask anyone for it. It’s a game changer,” said Courtney, our Little Free Pantry Captain in Lenox.

The Lenox Little Free Pantry is located at the Lenox Iowa Fire Department, directly across the street from a school bus stop and the Lenox Rodeo Grounds. It is stocked and cared for by Courtney’s entire family. As an Iowa Select Farms employee family, they saw the need for a project like this in their community and knew the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation could help.

“It all started with our girls coming home from school and telling us there were kids in their classes who didn’t have food. Hearing those stories was the initial push, and it got my husband involved,” explained Courtney.

Her husband, Ryan, serves as Lenox’s fire chief and reached out to Iowa Select Farms to try to make the project a reality.

“He was determined to have something set up for kids and families in Lenox no matter what, and Iowa Select helped make it happen,” said Courtney.

Before she knew it, the pantry was installed in March of 2021. It helps supplement the community food pantry at the Lenox Neighborhood Center and other efforts aimed at helping local families in need of a helping hand. Now instead of coming home from school with stories about hungry classmates, Country’s daughters have told her about kids that use the pantry before and after school.

“It’s rewarding to provide for kids and families. To know that because of us they have something, even if it’s something small, is a great feeling.”

Courtney and her family are long time Lenox residents, having lived there for over 30 years. In that time, there have always been kids and families in need within the community, but the pandemic has made this need even more critical. The installation of the Little Free Pantry couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We are absolutely grateful and thankful that Iowa Select Farms can provide these necessities for families and children. Without it I don’t know what a lot of families would do,” said Courtney. “It speaks volumes that a company is willing to do stuff like this or the pork loin giveaway. So many people here are thankful those things, and it really does make a difference.”

Courtney and her family pose in front of their pantry.