Sandy Springs woman, friends create community-led food pantry to feed families in need

Sandy Springs woman, friends start community-led food pantry

The Sandy Springs community is coming together to make sure neighbors have food on the table. Channel 2′s Heather Catlin learned how one woman and her friends started an entire community initiative.

When schools closed because of the pandemic back in March, Jennifer Barnes and her friends stepped up to help a few families and make sure they had enough food. But the need grew and now it’s an entire community effort.

“We started what we thought was an emergency, pop-up pantry, serving for two weeks or so,” Barnes told Catlin. “Before we knew it, we were serving between 150 to 200 families a day.”

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Barnes wants people to know the need for food right now is at a critical level.

“Sometimes these kids are hungry on a good day,” she said.

The Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry is volunteer-run and relies purely on donations. Even the space is donated as Barnes and her friends operate out of the old Publix in the Prado.

“We have it all set up as a market inside. People come in. They get their two bags, and they’re able to choose what they want to feed their family,” Barnes said.

The pantry offers non-perishable items. Volunteers also make sure there is fresh produce for families, and diapers and formula for babies.

“Our goal is to prove culturally appropriate food with nutritional value back to our community,” Barnes said.

Barnes said it’s all about making sure their neighbors know they are here for them.

“We’re prepared to be here as long as we are needed, as long as we have funding and as long as we have a space.

The biggest need right now to go along with food is volunteers. You can find out more about the Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry on Facebook or the group’s website.

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