Have you ever seen one of those “little libraries” in your neighborhood? You know, the ones where you can “give or take” a book to read? What if that concept was taken one step further, and now you could “give or take” household necessities like toiletries or food? That’s just what a group of community members are doing in the Palouse Region through the Rural Community Leadership Program.
A joint effort between the Avista Foundation, the Inland Northwest Community Foundation, Empire Health Foundation, Rural Development Initiatives, and the McGregor Company created the 3-year Rural Community Leadership Program to help develop capacity of community members to achieve their own vision of vitality—helping communities help themselves. The first year program was based in Colfax and included 22 participants from 7 different communities around the Palouse Region.
The program encouraged participants to build stronger connections to others in their communities, more engagement in civic life, and increased involvement in programs and projects in their communities.
Their class project “Sharing Corners” was inspired by the concept of the free-standing “little libraries” in various communities that house “give and take” books. Sharing Corners will be a place for non-perishable food, toiletries and other items that could benefit families such as games for children. The first two Sharing Corners are planned in the communities of Colton and Uniontown, WA.
Nan Konishi, program participant and former Rosalia mayor, noted, “Our goal with Sharing Corners is to place these in every community on the Palouse.”
Plans are underway for the second year of the program to be based in Rockford, WA.