Roswell woman’s ‘little free pantry’ meets a community need for food

Maya Pounds set up a free outdoor food pantry in her Roswell neighborhood.
Maya Pounds set up a free outdoor food pantry in her Roswell neighborhood.

A Roswell woman said she stocked an outdoor pantry with non-perishable goods at corner of her lawn hoping to meet a need for food in the community.

Maya Pounds set up the “little free pantry” two weeks ago, and the demand for items inside has her replenishing it daily, she said. Neighbors come by the unmanned pantry located at Mansell Circle and Colonial Park Drive to pick up canned goods, bags of pasta, toiletries and other items.

Pounds’ message for the mini-pantry is “Take what you need. Leave what you can.”

A box for overflow items is located on Pounds’ porch if the pantry is full when neighbors drop off goods.

“I was concerned at first because I wasn’t sure how much of a need there was going to be after the first week,” she said, “But there’s obviously a need.”

Her husband, Chris Pounds, built the pantry, which is two stacked white wooden cabinets.

Maya Pounds is a Roswell native and a skilled chef known for her scones and other pastries. She describes her community off Alpharetta Highway as lower income compared to other parts of the city. Nearby there are homeless people, including some newly homeless due to the pandemic, she said.

Pounds said she thinks some who are new to homelessness and food insecurity are reluctant to go a charitable organization for help and welcome the free pantry items.

“People might feel some kind of shame about asking for help,” she said. “A lot of people who have never been in this position before don’t know how or where to look for help.”

Some have picked up food late at night and come from other communities such as Marietta, she added.

Pounds, who recently turned 40, said the pantry is an act of service for her. She’s a volunteer cook at Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Pounds added that she wants the small pantry to remain a continuous resource for people in need.

She posted a wish list on Facebook for staples, including peanut butter, diapers, rice, box juices and more. Facebook friends have suggested she also post an Amazon wish list for the pantry.

“There’s always excitement up front and that will likely wear off,” Pounds said. “This needs to be stocked for the summer months too.”

Maya Pounds set up a free outdoor food pantry in her Roswell neighborhood.
Maya Pounds set up a free outdoor food pantry in her Roswell neighborhood.

In Other News