Agnew’s Little Free Pantry has officially expanded and has a new name honoring dedicated volunteers at the Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1033 Barr Road.
On Sunday, the new expansion was dedicated as the Florence and Michael Bucierka Social Justice Building.
Before a crowd of about 40-plus people, Vicki Sensiba, chairperson for the fellowship’s Little Free Pantry, said the building is “truly the work of many hands and hearts (and) there are two people without whom this building would never have come to exist.”
Sensiba said, “From the beginning of the Little Free Pantry, Florence Bucierka was determined that we needed a permanent facility, and when Florence wants something she doesn’t just talk about it; She makes it happen!”
Sensiba said Bucierka wrote grants, did the pantry’s bookkeeping, sought out volunteers and more, while her husband Michael served as construction supervisor.
“Nobody worked harder than Michael … He checked and double-checked the work,” Sensiba said. “He constantly looked for ways to save money. And on and on and on.”
The pantry opened on Sept. 20, 2020, to help provide 24/7 items to locals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the expansion, a space for cooler storage was built and placed between the pantry and little library along Barr Road by Michael Clemens, who constructed many little free pantries in Sequim and Port Angeles.
The new 12-foot-by-20-foot storage building houses dry food on shelves and cold food in a refrigerator, books for the fellowship’s free library, gifts for foster children and space for other social justice projects to help the community, volunteers said.
Sensiba said the fellowship received $11,275 in grants, $3,250 in member donations and $6,650 in indefinite loans from members (to offset a grant that did not come through).
Sensiba thanked and recognized dozens of community partners and volunteers for their support with certificates.
Benji Astrachan with the Washington State University Extension Office, which oversees the Little Free Pantry program in Clallam County, said volunteers with the fellowship have been excellent partners.
“Their dedication to the community and persistence in creating and expanding food access opportunities in the area has been inspiring, to say the least,” Astrachan said in an interview.
“As the Little Free Pantries spread across the county — 18 sites now — their leadership, wisdom and generous sharing of knowledge and experiences has been invaluable in getting new hosts up and running. We’re thrilled by the latest additions at the OUUF Pantry and couldn’t ask for better allies in the fight against food insecurity in Clallam County.”
On Sunday, Sensiba said “whatever we have given, we have received far more in return.”
“We have learned so much and we have been humbled by the generosity we have experienced,” she said. “We feel so fortunate.”
Other Little Free Pantries in the Sequim area include:
• 517 W. Fir St., behind St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
• 1371 Marine Drive, at the intersection with Mountain View Drive
• 9090 Old Olympic Highway, under awning at Sequim Valley Foursquare
• 425 N. Sunnyside Ave., between Spruce and Fir Streets, on the west side of Sunnyside
• 620 N. Fifth Ave., outside YMCA of Sequim
• 1700 Carlsborg Road, just south of Old Olympic Highway junction
For more information, visit olympicuuf.com, email to Admin@OlympicUUF.com or call 360-417-2665.