Brookhaven Little Libraries serve to feed the needy during coronavirus crisis

Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 10:42 PM CDT
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BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (WLBT) - For some in Brookhaven, it’s a definite labor of love. And it seems like the community is catching on.

“I just pray that God multiplies everything in this box, and each person that passes by, that they’re something they need, that it will be there, whatever it is, that that need will be met,” said Sabrina Wolff, who maintains what used to be the Little Libraries in Brookhaven.

Those are boxes where people can bring books to donate or take books they want to read. Now, they’re little grocery stores. If you see something you need, take it, and hopefully in a few weeks when you’re able, you can replace it.

“I know that there are good people out there, and sometimes you expect people to just take it and completely empty it…” said Wolff.

That’s been the case at all three locations inside Brookhaven – on West Monticello Street, one on Tanglewood drive, and one in front of the chamber of commerce.

They’re filled with things like ramen noodles, rice, canned goods, and other nonperishables, but you can see where people have raided their own cabinets to bring things like tea and coffee and plum jelly.

Outside the city limits, there’s a similar box at Heuck’s Retreat Volunteer Fire Department.

Wolff couldn’t help but get a little emotional looking at the unexpected stocking of the box by complete strangers in the community.

“Somebody has put just as much in there as I did to begin with, so I think it’s really cool that we’re practicing to love one another,” she said.

The same happened when we visited the box in front of the Chamber – Program Director Katie Nations told us someone had brought baby food, too.

Bread can’t go in the boxes because it wouldn’t stay fresh long in the humidity, but Wolff has stood in line many times to stock the boxes with what she can from the one four-roll pack ration of toilet paper at a local store.

“That lady has seen me a lot so I probably need to find another location,” she said with a laugh.

The Little Libraries were started years back by Sharon Allen when she lost her daughter Haley, who loved to read. The location on Tanglewood Drive is in front of their home, and still holds some books on the top level.

Nations said they will be used for food for a while, but eventually will go back to holding books. Meanwhile, Tom Smith Land and Homes, Farm Bureau, and the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce are aiding in the effort, Wolff said.

Both Nations and Wolff told us that the Little Library turned grocery store is something any community can do.

“It’s a super easy thing that I feel like any community can do, you don’t have to have a box like this. You can use a laundry basket, just sit it on the sidewalk with a simple letter. Anybody can do it,” Wolff said.

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