WAXAHACHIE

When Brandon Baker had the opportunity to choose which nonprofit he would want to benefit, the Waxahachie Little Pantry came to mind.

Baker, 33, was a 40-under-40 winner and was also awarded the Daily Light's Young Professional of the Year award. Along with this distinction, Baker had the opportunity to choose a local nonprofit to receive a $250 donation.

“I’ve been involved with other food pantries, and they have a lot of stipulations,” Baker explained. “There are a lot of rules and criteria; if you are not actively pursuing a job, then it’s not happening. Hunger does not come around whether you have a job or not.”

On Monday, Baker and staff members of the Daily Light joined the founders of Waxahachie Little Pantry, Kay and Sonny Sides, in their living room to discuss the cause behind the six pantries scattered around town.

In the meantime, the group would be distracted by a large monitor, which showed surveillance footage of people approaching the refrigerated pantry located on their property off of W. 5th Street and Cow Alley.

The camera does not only serve as surveillance but to see who is taking and how much. The Sides try to establish a relationship with those who come on a regular basis. For those who take quite a bit of food, Sonny will ask if that individual needs more help than what the little pantry can offer.

“Ninety percent of them who need help will give me their address," Sonny elaborated. "We then take, once a month, a couple of bags of food and check up on them and see how they are doing.”

Baker mentioned he first got involved with the Waxahachie Little Pantry back when the monitor and pantry were smaller and not as advanced. In his involvement, Baker played a role in the construction of the 16-by-12-foot storage shed in the backyard. Before it was built, canned goods and other food took over the vacant rooms in the house.

The group toured the storage shed that was built in January — a year after the nonprofit was established — and heard more about how food is distributed. Not only is the Waxahachie Little Pantry feeding individuals and families who stop by, but also helps other nonprofits in the area.

Sonny shared that he receives 150 loaves of bread a month and sets them out in the pantry or delivers them to The Salvation Army of Ellis County, Texas Baptist Home, food pantries in Ennis and Italy, Teen Challenge, the Urban Well food pantry in Maypearl. The nonprofit also donated hot dog buns to a Waxahachie Police Department function, a YMCA event at Penn Park and to the Ellis County Cowboy Church and Waxahachie Bible Church.

The Waxahachie Little Food Pantry takes all donations. The Sides mentioned they are always in need of peanut butter and canned goods.

“We are so thankful to the Daily Light and Brandon and the example he is in the city and the person that he is. We get the blessing of being part of it. We are thankful,” Kay said.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450