DUNWOODY, Ga. — The heavy downpour from Hurricane Delta’s outer bands was no match for a Dunwoody Girl Scout Troop bent on helping needy families.
Troop 13580 weathered the storms Oct. 10 to set up a “Little Food Pantry” at the Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry in nearby Sandy Springs.
The Cadette Troop has six members from different area middle schools and has stayed active despite declining membership. The girls have been friends for about eight years.
Modeled after small neighborhood libraries, the troop, with the assistance of a local builder, fashioned a wooden cabinet with a see-through door to make food accessible when the pantry is closed. The construction materials were donated by Home Depot.
The idea developed as the Girl Scouts were thinking of project ideas to complete their Silver Award. The Silver Award is the highest honor a Cadette can achieve. The award requires each Girl Scout complete at-least 50 hours of efforts that result in a sustainable community benefit.
Finding a permanent home for the pantry proved a challenge at first, when several churches and local schools declined. However, a connection between Troop Leader Lisa Chatigny and the director of Solidarity Springs Food Pantry, Jennifer Barnes, led to a permanent site.
Chatigny and her daughter Noelle, who volunteer at the food pantry, mentioned the project to Barnes, who saw it as a solution to problems that face families when the pantry is closed.
“Our goal is to create an atmosphere of positive energy, handing out food, hope and love,” Barnes said. The Girl Scouts’ pantry, she said, creates instant food for families at all times.
The Little Pantry will be stocked with canned goods, soups, bread, peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese.
“Now families have access to food at any time, and the Solidarity Food Pantry can keep it stocked which means the project is sustainable and serving a community need for the long-term,” said Sandra Vaughn, assistant troop leader. “In addition to delivering the Little Food Pantry, the girls wanted to stock it for it’s initial debut, so they conducted a canned food drive in each of their neighborhoods.”
Since opening March 27, Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry has served 12,691 households, averaging from five to seven members. On a typical day, 150 to 200 households are served.
Pantry shoppers can select from a variety of fresh produce including tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and limes. Other food staples like bread, rice, beans, peanut butter and flour are available, as well as cleaning supplies, infant formula and diapers.
Solidarity is open for donations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Shopping is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, also from 9 a.m. to noon.
More information is available at solidaritysandysprings.com.