The Northeast Earth Coalition

NEEC Free Little Pantry Project




The Little Free Pantry movement is a grassroots crowd-sourced solution to immediate local food needs. Whether it’s a need for food or a desire to give, mini pantries help feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods and building communities.

This project started in Montclair in October 2020 as an initiative of the Northeast Earth Coalition (NEEC) Community Outreach Program in response to the need for food assistance during the pandemic.  The Northeast Earth Coalition has partnered with First Congregational Church, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, Montclair Mutual Aid, the Helen and William Mazer Foundation, Trina Paulus, the Mustafa family, the Bloomfield Kiwanis Club, the Bloomfield Public Library, the Township of Cedar Grove, the Community Church of Cedar Grove, St. Paul Baptist Church, Church of the New Covenant, Grace Presbyterian Church, Renaissance School, the Montclair Foundation, and Partners for Health, among other individuals and organizations in Montclair and neighboring towns. It has benefited from the support and generosity of the Montclair community and neighboring towns.

The program distributed more than 330, 000 pounds of canned and dry food in 2022, and this year we are expecting to reach 370,000 pounds of food.

We rely on individual donations. We do not receive township, county, or state funding to run this program. Over 250 NEEC volunteers manage the program, doing food drives, restocking pantries, building new pantries, and maintaining existing pantries. The NEEC received the prestigious Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award 2023 and for three consecutive years received the Gold Transparency Award by the national nonprofit watchdog GuideStar.

We are incorporating our public schools into our community projects for several reasons. First, we are committed to educating youth about environmental protection, sustainability, and environmental justice. Second, students are required to do community work as part of the school curriculum. Bringing Free Little Pantries to our schools gives them an opportunity to fulfill this requirement, connecting with people in need and becoming part of the solution. In addition, we are not only bringing the pantries to the schools but also promoting school gardens as a way of educating students about local food production, pollinator gardens, wildlife habitat, and composting. It is a full package with the purpose of creating a long-lasting impact in our community and for future generations.

The pantries are open 24/7.

Little Pantry Locations:

  • 40 South Fullerton Avenue (front yard lawn), Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by First Congregational Church).
  • 67 Church Street (end of Driveway), Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair)
  • 86 Elm Street (front yard), Montclair, NJ 07042 (Host: Trina Paulus)
  • 119 Elm Street Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by St. Paul Baptist Church)
  • 115 Greenwood Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by Trinity Temple)
  • 84 Maple Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by Tommy’s Laundromat)
  • 90 Broad Street, (front yard garden), Bloomfield, NJ 07003 (Host: Bloomfield Public Library).
  •  65 Bowden Rd (front yard) Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 (Host: Community Church Cedar Grove).
  • 106 Viola Avenue (front yard) Clifton, NJ
  • 343 Dodd Street, East Orange, NJ 07017 (Hosted by the Church of The New Covenant)
  • 67 Park Street, Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hosted by Congregation Shomrei Emunah)
  • 10 Bellevue Avenue, Bloomfield, 07003 (Hosted by Brookdale Reformed Church)
  • 99 South Fullerton Avenue, hosted by Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue, Montclair, NJ 07042 (Hawthorne Place East side of the building).
  • 581 Valley Road, hosted by St. James Episcopal Church, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043.
  • 135 Grove Street, (Hosted by Grace Presbyterian Church) Montclair, NJ 07042
  • 176 North Fullerton Avenue (Hosted by Renaissance School), Montclair, NJ 07042 (Opening first week of December 2023).