Pandemic inspires Simpsonville resident to create free food pantry

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SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Some say blessings come in threes, but here in Simpsonville you may find yours in a box.

Sheri Kijsamnong said it all started when the idea to start a food pantry was placed in her heart. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw that many people were in need of essential items.

Sheri told 7 News that giving back to the community was something her mother taught her from a young age, so she decided to join the Pay It Forward movement and bring a Little Free Pantry to Simpsonville.

“God actually told me to do something, do something to make a difference. Be a blessing if you can be a blessing, and it was a message my mother taught me early on that if you can give back give back and try to be a blessing to others and this was a unique way to do that,” Sheri said.

She presented the plan to the firefighters at the South Greenville Fire Station 6 and they welcomed the blessing box with open arms.

With help from her neighbor Zachariah Allen, a 17 year-old carpenter who built the pantry, and the community members who filled it with food, the first Little Free Pantry in Simpsonville was established. 

“She posted in our neighborhood website if someone wanted to build a box and nobody else commented and I was just like ‘Hey, I do carpentry why no build a box’,” Allen said.

The goal is to give people who are in need of food items, toiletries, and other essentials a place where they can it pick up without feeling stigmatized.

“It’s not restricted to people, it’s taking away all social barriers whether you’re rich, poor or just cant find items. That’s our idea is just to make sure it’s available to any and everybody in the community,” said Sheri.

Sheri plans to establish four more blessing boxes in the Golden Strip area after she received a grant from No Child Goes Hungry and her daughter is working on building a pet pantry for pet parents who need help with food or pet items.

“Because of COVID most people are running out of pet food too at stores other than just normal food for humans so we can put more in here or in a different pantry for pets only,” Dakota Kijsamnong said.

Sheri encourages people in the community to stop by and donate when they can and be a blessing to others.

To donate towards the The Little Food Pantry, Sheri encourages people to stop by anytime to drop off items. Please click here for more information.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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