McDONOUGH — On Griffin Street sits a cedar cabinet that for some could mean the difference between being hungry or going to sleep with a full belly.
It’s a cabinet born from a grandmother’s love, a desire to share and a conviction from God that Amanda Reeves said was placed upon her heart.
Earlier this month, Reeves opened a self-serve food pantry called Millie’s Mini Pantry next to Studio 48 in McDonough. She said the project was a group effort with support from her husband, Jason, friends and family.
Reeves works near the McDonough Square. She said she has been approached many times by people asking for money.
“I always say I won’t give you money, but I’m happy to buy you something to eat,” she said. “Most people said ‘OK.’”
Reeves said after a number of those encounters she knew there was a need in her community.
“I believe in giving back,” she said. “We rise by lifting others. The pantry gives people a hand up, not a hand out.”
Reeves said she’s been blessed with a good life, though not without hard times.
“I knew things were always going to get better, and I focused on that,” she said. “God will always help and provide.”
Since its opening on Nov. 7, Reeves has restocked the pantry a few times, further proof of its need.
“I’m so grateful it’s been received,” she said.
Reeves named the pantry after her grandmother, Millie. She credits Grandma Millie with gifting her life lessons that have shaped her life.
“It wasn’t until long after she died did I realize the impact my grandmother had on me. She taught me how to treat other people and how to use what you have to help other people.”
Reeves described Millie as a woman with class and grace and though she didn’t have much, gave what she could with a joyful spirit.
“Some of my best memories are with her,” Reeves said. “I felt like naming the pantry after my grandmother was a way I could honor her.”
Now with her own daughter, Reeves said she wants to pass those teachings on to new generations.
Her hope is this pantry will be the first of many. Reeves said she’d like to see a whole network of them around the county.
But more than full bellies, Reeves said she wants others to know that it doesn’t take much to make a difference.
“You just do what you can do. When everybody does that it can make a big difference,” she said. “I hope it sets an example to lift others and inspire.”
Anyone is invited to take what they need or donate what they can to the pantry. Reeves said she’s already received an outpouring of support from community members wanting to help.
Any non-perishable and personal care items are accepted. Those who wish to donate can place items inside the cabinet. Items should be in their original packaging and must not be left on the ground in front of the pantry.
“If there’s no room or if anyone would like to donate, they can email me and I’m happy to pick up items or meet them,” Reeves said.
Studio 48, the location of the pantry, is at 48 Griffin St. in McDonough.