When Jessica McClard was growing up in Winger, Arkansas (a rural farming area), food was scarce. The mom of two told TODAY, “The nearest grocery store was 30 miles away.” Even though McClard herself never went hungry, she knew plenty of people in the small community who did. Fast-forward to her adult years, and McClard decided to do something about it. That is, she decided to do something to help those who didn’t have enough food to feed themselves or their families.

So what did the mama do? If you’ve seen those Little Free Libraries around your neighborhood (public boxes that you can take a book and leave a book), you might have a clue as to what McClard decided to try.

Instead of books, McClard decided to give the “Little Free…” idea a twist and use them to help feed community members who needed help. Her Little Free Pantries operate on the same take one, leave one principle — promoting feeding others and not literacy.

The first little pantry that McClard built didn’t go so well. She placed it in a multi-family mid-sized apartment complex. After the first failure, she kept on going. This time she put the pantry on her church’s grounds. From there she moved on to her neighborhood spaces. Her teen daughters helped her, installing a pantry across the street from a nearby elementary school.

The Little Free Pantry movement caught on, and pantries started springing up across the US. And now, there are so many that Tyson Foods named McClard as one of their “Meals That Matter Heroes,” giving her $40,000 to create an online interactive map of the pantries nationwide.

Do you have a Little Free Pantry in your neighborhood? Share how yours helps others in the comments below.