Mercy NWA Offers On-site Little Free Pantries

Janelle Potts, MD, primary care physician with Mercy Clinic Family Medicine – Downtown Rogers, and co-workers with Mercy Northwest Arkansas helped to establish the Little Free Pantry at the Rogers clinic five years ago. The Little Free Pantry has been so beneficial and successful, additional pantries have popped up at many other Mercy NWA locations. The latest pantry opened this summer at Mercy Clinic Primary Care – Springdale, with another in the works at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. 

Other Mercy pantry locations include: 

-Mercy Highway 102, Bentonville 

-Mercy Clinic I Street, Bentonville 

-Mercy Clinic Centerton 

-Mercy Clinic Pea Ridge 

-Mercy Clinic Bella Vista 

-Mercy Clinic Primary Care J Street, Bentonville 

-Mercy Physicians Plaza, Rogers 

The mini pantry project is a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to an immediate, local need, according to littlefreepantry.org. Cinthia Vlaovich, executive director of operations, Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas, said the pantries were established in response to a growing population of people suffering from food insecurity. 

“When those people become our patients, it is very hard to help them with their health when they are hungry or don’t have access to healthy food options,” Vlaovich said. “Patients utilize them every single day, and we have had a lot of positive feedback and thankfulness for the food.” 

Lisa Low, MD, Mercy NWA’s community health medical director, added that the pantries were created “because of the passion and heart of our co-workers for helping those in need.” 

“It really is a grassroots movement coming straight from the physicians and co-workers,” she said. 

Potts said she would love to see Little Free Pantries at every Mercy location. 

“Mercy has a mission to care for those in need, whether it is the sick or the hungry, and this is a perfect way to expand our mission,” she said.