Madison couple builds free little pantry outside of home to help during COVID-19 pandemic

What started as a small act of kindness for one person turned into something good for the entire community
Free Pantry

MADISON, Wis. — Kurt Stapleton and his wife Nicki Stapleton set up a free little pantry set up in front of their home over the weekend, and in a short amount of time, the little pantry with a lot of character has gained a lot of traction in the community.

“This all started with me helping a guy I’m working with,” Kurt Stapleton said. “I’m his recovery coach and he just got an apartment and had no food. So I went on the Nextdoor app and asked if anyone could help him. The outpouring of help was amazing and we kept getting donations after he had what he needed.”

Stapleton is also the creator of Battle Caps, and was featured for his good deed in a story News 3 Now did last year.

Stapleton said his wife suggested they put the excess outside in a free pantry for anyone who needed it. After posting on social, Stapleton said, “It took off from there.”

Free Pantry

“People started donating more items and others were stopping by to take what they needed,” Stapleton said. “We quickly realized that we needed a bigger place to store the food. We got the cabinet off Facebook marketplace. I post on a pay it forward page and a lady replied right away. Our friend went and picked it up for us. It’s really incredible to see how quickly it took off. It tells me people are willing to help and others are in need of stuff. If they can’t go to the store, then here’s a solution.”

The items in the free pantry range throughout the day where you can find anything from toilet paper to non-perishables.

Stapleton credits his wife for doing most of the work and heavy lifting to make this a reality for the community.

“It will stay up and running as long as needed,” Stapleton said. “If people don’t need food we’ll transform it into a library.”

The pantry is located at 1417 prairie Rd Madison, WI 53711.