Elzette - Ellsworth Little Free Pantry Captain

posted on Friday, February 11, 2022

Our next Little Free Pantry Captain spotlight takes us to Ellsworth where Elzette, the health services assistant at Iowa Select Farms, serves her community by caring for the Little Free Pantry.

“It’s my pride and joy. So much so that I have to stack everything in it a certain way, just to make sure it looks nice and inviting and full all the time,” said Elzette, smiling as she described the Ellsworth pantry. “I’m just so thankful that our company is doing this and that I get to be a part of it.”

Elzette’s husband and Director of Sows at Iowa Select Farms, Dan, was instrumental in bringing the project to the Ellsworth community in 2020 by forging a partnership with the city council. The pantry is located just east of Trinity Lutheran Church and has an especially unique design that features pigs, fish and even turkeys. This was the sixth Little Free Pantry installed in one of our Homegrown Iowa communities, and Elzette has been the perfect person to oversee the project.

“It’s all about giving back to the community and showing that I’m proud of who I’m working for,” said Elzette, “We can help people worry a little less about where their next meal is coming from or how they are going to put food on the table for their kids that night. That can be something we take for granted, just opening up our cupboards to find them filled with food. Not everyone has that.”

Little Free Pantries are designed to supplement existing hunger relief efforts in the community and serve as an emergency resource for children and families who do not have the ability to buy food or have limited access to food pantries. Elzette keeps it stocked with easy-to-prepare snacks for kids, personal hygiene products, items for infants, ready-to-eat meals and seasonal items like warm weather clothing, school supplies and more. Just like Elzette, the Ellsworth community as a whole has also welcomed the Little Free Pantry and its mission with open arms.

“Our community has come together to put things it in that I know I didn’t buy. They just want to be a part of it. Before the pantry was installed, they might have had questions about where to help, but this gives them a clear way to get involved and make a difference,” explained Elzette. “Everyone respects the community spirit of it, and there is no judgement or barriers for those who choose to use it.”

The pantry has helped Elzette recognize the real need for this type of hunger relief in the Ellsworth community, especially for kids. She has even gotten her own kids involved in shopping for supplies and restocking the pantry, allowing them to advise her on which snacks are the most popular. The whole family enjoys wearing their Pantry Captain sweatshirts around town and have gotten many comments about the positive impact the pantry and Iowa Select Farms has in the community.

“I am so proud to be involved with this. My heart just feels overjoyed. I’m proud of everything Iowa Select does, and I’m thankful to be a small part of it. When I can say that I stocked this pantry and that I’m part of what they do to give back, it makes me feel good,” said Elzette. “There is never any shortage of giving from Iowa Select Farms.”

Elzette headshot