ASOTIN — Anyone who needs a can of soup or box of cereal can stop by a free food pantry outside Asotin City Hall and take whatever they need — no questions asked.
The pantry has been open for about two months, thanks to an Asotin woman who was inspired to launch the project after seeing a similar project on her social media news feed. Asotin residents chipped in with donations, and now folks are finding help in the small town south of Clarkston.
Tina Davidson, who serves as the city’s deputy clerk and court administrator, purchased a cabinet for $40 and started spreading the word this fall. Soon the cupboard was stocked, and people who needed food have been stopping by to grab an item or two off the shelves.
“I put a couple of things on the city’s Facebook page, and our community responded very well,” Davidson said. “We have a variety of donated items, and there are no income requirements. People can just come here to get food, a snack or a book. We even had one anonymous angel donate knitted hats.”
The concept of “no questions asked” appeals to Davidson, because anyone who needs a little help can use the pantry at 121 Cleveland St. Most of the time, no one even knows who is seeking help at the pantry.
“I’m not rich,” Davidson said. “I don’t have a lot of money. My ideas are about doing things that aren’t cash-related.”
City Clerk Tiffany Rogers said Davidson’s generous spirit has made a big impact in the community. Along with the food pantry, Davidson paints little wooden signs that say, “Never Give Up,” and hangs them on a tree south of Asotin. The signs are free for the taking.
“We have had people stop by and tell us how much that message meant to them,” Rogers said. “Then we let them in on a little secret. Tina is the one who makes them, and she’s sitting right there.”
Davidson, 56, has been working for the city of Asotin for seven years. Rogers said her co-worker’s cheerful demeanor and caring attitude make it fun to go to City Hall every day.
“She definitely goes above and beyond for our community,” Rogers said. “She has truly been an asset from day one. She won’t tell you this, but she helped start Alive After Five in Clarkston, and she has been instrumental in getting vendors here for various events and bringing attention to Asotin.”
Her latest project is a good example, Rogers said. The pantry is unlocked and operates on the honor system 24 hours a day. So far, it’s off to a good start. The donations are flowing, and people in need are hearing about it.
“It’s all free. Just respect it,” Davidson recently told a group of youngsters who were interested in what was available. “Just take what you need, and please leave everything else.”
Recently, someone dropped off a bag of rabbit feed, while others have donated magazines, lotions, pasta, canned goods and produce. Items can be left at City Hall or placed directly in the pantry if the office is closed.
“Our plan is to keep this going to be open all-year-round,” Davidson said. “People are hungry all year long. My feeling is God is good, and he does provide if we just keep working at it.”
Sandaine may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.