#HawaiiStrong: Tripler Army Medical Center nurse provides for community through neighborhood pantry

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) – From books to masks to toiletries, this neighborhood pantry has it all.

“It’s all free, help yourselves, it’s very much a take what you need leave what you can,” said Diane McElroy a nurse midwife at Tripler Army Medical Center.

Diane McElroy is a nurse midwife at Tripler Army Medical Center. She’s also the owner of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Pantry that started as a tiny free library outside of her house.

“So I just put out a plastic tub and some pantry items and a half a dozen books and I was making masks for people at work so I hung up ten free masks as a really an attention getter and that got a lot of attention.”

With uncertainty spreading due to the Coronavirus, the tiny free library grew to a fully stocked pantry.

“It just spiraled. People would come by and ask if they could give me money for the masks, I told them I didn’t want money but next time if they went to Costco or wherever they would pick up that and bring that by.”

The neighborhood pantry lives up to its name, all items are donated by the community.

“I’ve had people bring me shelves to put stuff on. It’s almost like Christmas, I go out there everyday and find me different things. I would come out of the house and find a case of Spaghettios or cans of beans or piles of toilet paper or all different kinds of things.”

McElroy says she’s always loved helping people whether it’s her patients or her neighbors. She’ll continue to run the free pantry as long as the community needs it.

“I found it very helpful. I love finding different things that have been donated, I love going out and seeing what has been taken. Sometimes I watch from the windows, sometimes I’ll see kids come by and grab a book and snacks, have a few quick little bites out there, get a book and a rice snack or something. It does my heart good and I love seeing it.”

For more information on the Kaneohe Neighborhood Pantry, click here.

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