When Cheryl Jackson opened Minnie’s Food Pantry on the west side of Plano three years ago, people were surprised at her location choice. But more surprising is how quickly the need outgrew the space.
Last month, on April 1, supporters and friends celebrated the opening of the new, larger pantry located at Independence and Parker roads, near Half Price Books.
Appropriately, blue skies were overhead the day of the ribbon-cutting as guests and her mother Minnie Ewing, the pantry namesake, entered by way of red carpet.
Inspirational quotes printed on the glass exterior walls about kindness and humanity speak to the heart of the pantry’s mission: feeding people, body and soul. Mother Teresa’s words are simple. “If you can’t feed 100 people, then feed just one.” This became their motto.
Inside, racks are filled with products, many name-brand. Thanks to a $40,000 donation by Bill and Kasey Hollon (see page 40), Minnie’s Food Pantry can also offer fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and poultry provided on a regular basis by Market Street grocery store. There are even small shopping carts. It’s important to Cheryl that shoppers select food their families will enjoy, just like at a grocery store, rather than be handed boxes of food they may or may not use.
Last year, according to the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), Minnie’s Food Pantry served over 747,000 pounds of food making it the number-one outlet for NTFB in Collin County. Eligibility to receive free or reduced-cost food is determined by federal guidelines which base a person’s need on their income. The food pantry is designed to provide one food order per household every two weeks.
Cheryl is grateful for the support of so many area businesses, churches and individuals. It is a constant challenge for her and the board to keep the doors open and food on the shelves, but she finds the inspiration to continue every day.
“I am inspired by the look in a mother’s eyes, and there is a sense of appreciation and gratitude that they express that money can’t buy,” she says. “I’m inspired when I hand a child one of Minnie’s Food Pantry healthy kids snack bags and they hug it like it was a million dollars. I am inspired when I see tears of gratitude flow down the faces of someone that can’t afford something as simple as their next meal. I continue because I strongly believe that no child in this world should go to bed hungry, especially in the beautiful city of Plano.”
Printed in the Plano Profile