Recent Moscow High School graduate Chandler Miller loves spending time outdoors with his friends and family, cheering on the Moscow Bears at football games and pep rallies, as well as playing varsity basketball. He even takes time to serve as a Bear Buddy youth mentor to elementary aged kids. But this young man’s pride in his community runs even deeper than that. While other seniors spent the last few months of their high school careers counting down the days until graduation, Chandler spent his time creating a lasting legacy of service. Chandler, as part of a leadership class, took on a project to design, build, and install a small food pantry that would be accessible 24/7 to anyone in need in the community.
While this project seemed simple at first, it actually was more complex than Chandler realized. “It definitely was a process,” says Chandler. “We needed a partner and to secure a location. I learned a lot about zoning laws and restrictions and what you could put up in a public space versus a private space.” The First United Methodist Church partnered with Chandler to provide a permanent location for the little pantry as well as monitor it during school breaks. Chandler then collaborated with a local building supply store to obtain the materials as well as a local shop teacher and an artist friend to construct and paint the box. “It was great to see so many people who were willing to help and come together,” says Chandler.
“It was great to see so many people who were willing to help and come together,” says Chandler.
Stocked with non-perishable food such as peanut butter, juice boxes, pasta, and crackers, the little food pantry is already making an impact. Although he hasn’t personally seen anyone take items, Chandler and others have restocked the box often enough to see it’s being utilized. “I don’t think I’ll ever really see the rewards of doing this project,” he says. “But just knowing there’s a possibility that I’m helping someone in their most vulnerable time is very rewarding.”
His pantry project may be finished, but Chandler has no intention of slowing down in the areas of community involvement and service. This fall he will leave Moscow and head south to Boise State University where he plans on majoring in business. Chandler has already made some contacts in the Boise area and the service-minded young man is looking forward to being involved in more community service projects during his college career.♦