WESTFIELD, NJ — First United Methodist Church of Westfield is converting its two "Little Free Libraries" into small food pantries.

"With the coronavirus raising concern about the safety of using the little free libraries’ books, the church had last week removed reading material from the miniature libraries and is now utilizing the space for food pantries," said Scotch Plains resident Lauren Genato, a parishioner who maintains the libraries.

Rev. William Williams III stocked the library-turned-pantry in front of the church on Ferris Place Tuesday morning and the church is asking the public to participate in the effort so that it can stock its second library located on East Broad Street, Genato told TAPinto Westfield.

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“A move from Little Free Library to Little Free Pantry if you will,” Genato said. “Something to help those in the community who may be out of work, unable to go to the store or are even afraid to.”

The church library announced its conversion on Facebook Tuesday.

“If you need something, please take it. If you have some extra to share, please do so by leaving your shelf stable food offering in either library,” the FUMC Westfield Little Free Libraries said in the social media post. “We have collected enough food items to stock our Ferris Place library. We call on you for help in stocking the library on East Broad Street. Please help if you are moved to do so and are able.”

Genato, a Scotch Plains resident who has been attending the church in Westfield for 11 years, told TAPinto Westfield that in addition to accepting non-perishable food items the church will accept donations of paper goods, including toilet paper.

“These are trying times, and we want you to know that we are in solidarity with you now, as always,” the church library’s announcement said.

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