According to an article here in the Lansing State Journal, 38 year old Clarence Walker built and installed a 'little food pantry' in his west Lansing neighborhood back in June.
LittleFreePantry.org describes the new trend as "a grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, the Little Free Pantry facilitates neighbors helping neighbors, building community." Essentially, someone takes the initiative to build one of these, set it up in a neighborhood, then keep the free pantry stocked with food, personal care items, etc.
Walker says he didn't ask permission from the City of Lansing to put the pantry in his yard, he just did it. Says the neighbors have been stocking it, too.
A Kim and Rick Klatt of Grand Ledge were planning to put one in their yard, too, but they decided to ask permission from the city first. You can guess that it wasn't an easy, "Yea, go ahead!"