Saving the world, one family at a time
Jennifer Barnes, of the Barnes Young Team at Keller Williams Peachtree Road, knows a thing or two about
nonprofits. She has given her time to Every Woman Works, an organization that helps impoverished women from difficult circumstances learn self-sufficiency, for over ten years and served as a member of their board. When the coronavirus hit, she used this experience to launch Solidarity Sandy Springs, a pop-up food pantry for Sandy Springs families in need. Since late March she has spent almost everyday at Solidarity. “My team told me, ‘Y’all are doing something so impacting, we support you 100% we have you covered!’” she says.
On their first day, Solidarity was only able to serve 60 families before running out of food. Another 30 families were still waiting in line.
Jennifer, along with fellow founders Erin Olivier and Sonia Simon, and their team of faithful volunteers used every connection they had to mobilizefor food and needed items. The following day they fed over 100 families with no one left waiting.
According to Jennifer, “Everything that has happened to us, from the very beginning, has been like divine intervention.” All of the pantry’s three locations were donated spaces, Under the Cork Tree, Solidarity Plaza and their current location at the former Publix in the Prado. Many of the organization’s own volunteers are members of the families that receive supplies. One such member, Maria Bravo, was hired to be their food manager; she coordinates the procurement and pricing of their fresh produce.
Recently, the pantry’s 10,000th family was served. Market days are every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, feeding around 150-200 homes each day. Solidarity Sandy Springs is set up to be a market shopping experience providing food choices and dignity for the hardworking people they serve. Shoppers browse the available produce, canned goods, diapers and hygiene products set out on tables, picking out what they need for their family. Because Solidarity serves a large Latin population, they make it a point to provide culturally appropriate foods such as plantains, tomatillos and avocados.
Originally Solidarity was only planning to stay open through May, but the ongoing pandemic has had them extend their operation at least through December. It cost around $2,500 a day to keep the pantry running, with 98% of funds going toward inventory purchase.
For a list of needed items or to donate money, visit