MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — What started out as one pop-up pantry to feed a community in need has now grown to eight and counting.

It’s part of a project called ‘The Purple Pantry Boxes’ created by Milford resident Susan Brown who spends an hour and a half each morning making sure the pantries are fully stocked with food for neighbors in need. 

Brown started the project during a short break from her job as Public Defender for the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District.  

She says while the COVID-19 crisis escalated food insecurity in her community, this need is not new. 

“I think there was always a perfect time for this,” she explained. “There’s a need for food in our communities that a lot of people don’t want to address.” 

The idea is simple: To provide anyone in need with staple, non-perishable food items while also allowing members of the community to donate if they are able. 

“It’s bringing out the best in almost everybody,” Brown said. “We’ve had two food drives where we’ve collected thousands of pieces of food; really it just helps me to keep this going.” 

The project’s motto is ‘Take what you need, donate if you can’. This resonated well in the community, with many making their own contributions. 

“I drop off apples in the morning, every other day,” said Lori Sincavage. 

The Milford resident drops off fresh fruit to one of the pantries for a veteran in town. She says these boxes represent much more than just food. 

“It’s an apple, a couple of apples,” she explained. “It’s also a human connection too that you have because now he knows someone’s thinking of him.” 

“It’s interactions like this that Brown says pushes her to do even more. 

Currently, she’s working to make ‘The Purple Pantry Boxes’ a nonprofit in order to fundraise and keep up with demand. 

Pantry locations can be found on the project’s website and Brown says that they are always open to anyone who needs them. 

“To me that’s the simplicity of it,” she said. “Some people think that it’s a way for people to take advantage of a system. My attitude is that if someone needs food, they should be able to get it.”