This morning started out dreary and overcast. But just as members of the media starting arriving to an afternoon press conference on behalf of Minnie’s Food Pantry, the clouds suddenly parted and the sun shone brightly. “Prayer works,” said Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson, founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano.
Today Cheryl made an exciting announcement on behalf of the nonprofit organization. The food pantry, which is currently located at 3033 W. Parker Rd Suite 116, will move to a much larger space in east Plano this June.
The new location is a 28,000-square-foot facility just east of 18th Street and Central Expressway. The existing building in the new location, previously a Department of Motor Vehicles office years ago, is being remodeled to accommodate the food pantry’s distribution center, a state-of-the-art volunteer center and resale boutique.
Minnie’s Food Pantry was founded by Cheryl in 2008 and named after her mother, Minnie Hawthorne Ewing. Cheryl’s mother passed away in 2015 but the food pantry forges steadily ahead, honoring Ms. Minnie’s legacy of loving and helping others.
Cheryl is no stranger to times of need herself. She has talked openly about her own family’s past struggles with hunger and having to apply for food stamps. That experience made her realize that there was a better way to treat those in need of help. When Minnie’s Food Pantry opened, Cheryl vowed that the people she helped would have a different experience. Citizens who show up at Minnie’s to collect food are treated with the utmost respect by the staff and dedicated volunteers, even walking down a red carpet to receive their meals.
Since opening its doors 11 years ago, Minnie’s Food Pantry has fed our community over nine million meals. Minnie’s current location is approximately 16,000 square feet, so the east Plano location almost doubles their current size, enabling Minnie’s to effectively serve double the number of people. The new, larger location will also allow Minnie’s Food Pantry to continue offering its financial literacy and health and nutrition programs to the public but with greater frequency and regularity.
“We’re really excited because when we get this [building] up to par, everything changes – the vision that we have even for the people that we currently serve right now,” said Cheryl. “We’ve been giving them, as they say, fish, but in the near future we’re going to start teaching them to fish.”
When the staff found out roughly six months ago that their current lease would not be renewed and they would need to be out by June 30, Cheryl said they really did not know what to do. The first answer to their prayers came from Bill Cawley, CEO of Cawley Partners, who told Cheryl that his company would take care of purchasing a new building for Minnie’s.
“We as a company started giving time around Thanksgiving, filling food boxes, etcetera. And we started coming here and we just saw all the good work that Cheryl and her team are doing and we just fell in love with the place,” Bill Cawley said. “This is a special organization. We’re happy to help and we’re excited to be a part.”
And then more prayers were answered. According to Cheryl, Legacy Texas pledged $30,000 toward the building, Linux announced a donation of $10,000, Central Market HEB announced a donation of $50,000, and at the annual gala last year, Jersey Mike’s pledged $400,00 over the next four years. But with a total cost of $1.3 million to completely renovate, the food pantry is only about halfway to its goal.
Minnie’s Food Pantry is also receiving financial support for its new facility from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. As the recipient of a 2019 Sun Club grant, the pantry will receive a solar system to reduce its carbon footprint and to mitigate some of the costs associated with increased utility bills in its new, larger home.
Minnie’s Food Pantry has several sponsorship opportunities available, foremost the naming rights to the new headquarters. Branded partnerships are also being offered on the training room and food boxes and other areas. Prospective partners are encouraged to inquire via firstname.lastname@example.org
Every month over 2,000 families walk into Minnie’s Food Pantry to receive meals, and Cheryl believes that need will only grow with a move to the east side of town. She is counting on the community to step up as it always has to serve its citizens in need.
“Minnie’s Food Pantry is bringing a red carpet to the east side of Plano, and we’re going to roll it out and we’re going to treat these families how they deserve to be treated.”
Minnie’s Food Pantry’s current location:
3033 W Parker Rd Suite 116
Plano, TX 75075
Minnie’s Food Pantry’s future location:
651 E 18th Street Suite 651
Plano, TX 75074