The Little Pantry That Could set to close after 12 years due to rising Nashville rents

little pantry that could
Posted at 8:21 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 09:21:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After 12 years, the nonprofit The Little Pantry That Could is closing its doors for good.

The organization has been forced to shut down operations after its lease wasn’t renewed.

Founder Stacy Downey said she’s spent several years working with realtors and the largest developer in the city looking for a new building, but there wasn’t anything they could afford.

The Little Pantry That Could was established in 2010 after Downey saw a need due to the devastating Nashville floods.

It is set up like a free grocery store with fresh produce, non-perishable food and necessities distributed every Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m.

Downey stresses the real estate market has put out a lot of small businesses, other nonprofits, and native Nashvillians who can no longer afford to live in the city.

"We can't compete with that. You know, regular Nashvillians can't compete with that. So really, it was kind of doomed. I still had hoped until just recently, but looking it was futile. There's no way we can compete with investors or people who aren't even in this economy who are buying up these commercial properties," said Downey.

Saturday, March 26 is the last food pantry day and they have about 15,000 pounds of food to give away.

It officially closes next Thursday, because the organization also does outreach services to people experiencing homelessness. Downey said the organization is hoping to get that community set up before closing.

Downey has enjoyed the little community built around The Little Pantry That Could.

"People come here to socialize. They've all got to know each other, and they love each other. They may get up and dance while they're here. They hug each other. You know, they rely on seeing the same people every Saturday that rely on seeing us and so that's a huge thing that can't be replaced,” Downey explained.