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Wed, Feb. 19

Prescott Valley Public Library’s food pantry a boon to patrons
Second-floor display popular; librarians enjoy making a difference

The Prescott Valley Public Library’s food pantry, located on the east side of the second floor, is always available for patrons of all ages in need of a boost. (Doug Cook/Courier)

The Prescott Valley Public Library’s food pantry, located on the east side of the second floor, is always available for patrons of all ages in need of a boost. (Doug Cook/Courier)

Toward the middle of the second floor on the east side of Prescott Valley Public Library, three metal shelves stand on wheels, stocked with nonperishable food.

You will typically find canned goods, cereal, granola bars, juice bottles, boxes of macaroni and cheese, Ramen and fruit cups, among other items, stacked neatly in a visually appealing display behind a checkout desk.

Since October 2018, the library, 7401 E. Skoog Blvd., has been operating this food pantry, labeled with signage, for anyone in need. It has been welcomed with open arms.

Adult Services Librarian Michele Hjorting borrowed the idea for the PV Library’s pantry from a previous job. Library Assistant Jim Black maintains the shelves.

“It’s a perfect fit for our community,” PV Library Director Casey Van Haren said of the pantry. “It’s such a great addition to the library.”

Librarians invite patrons to donate nonperishables. In fact, the library has adopted a fitting mantra for the food pantry: “Take what you need. Bring what you can.”

Black refills the pantry every morning. Librarians estimate that three-fourths of the pantry’s contents are used by the end of each day, seven days a week.

“We always accept donations of food, and the staff contributes a lot of food,” Hjorting said.

Community Engagement Librarian Shannon Schinagl said she buys two cans of condensed milk every time she visits the grocery store for stocking the pantry’s shelves.

Van Haren, Hjorting and Schinagl say they’re thrilled that patrons have taken to the pantry. For example, staffers at Bradshaw Mountain High School have been sending students over to the library after school for snacks.

“All ages are welcome to use the food pantry,” Schinagl added.

For more information or to donate nonperishables, call the library at 928-759-3040.

Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.

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