When pandemic closures shuttered the restaurant Under the Cork Tree in the Prado shopping center at 5600 Roswell Road, volunteers transformed it into the Solidarity Food Pantry.

Under the Cork Tree transformed into the Solidarity Food Pantry.

Created by Sandy Springs residents in collaboration with Brookhaven’s Barnes Young Team real estate brokers, the pantry began providing food and personal items to those in need on March 27. The dining room became a collection area and the bar became the food pantry.

Volunteer Erin Oliver, left, helps a customer.

“We go through over 250 pounds of rice and beans each day,” said Erin Oliver, one of the volunteer organizers. “We set up the restaurant like a market to give our customers a comfortable place to pick up supplies and food, which everyone deserves.”

Ronda Smith, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, delivers baked goods donated by City Bagel & Cafe on April 18. Smith said the bakery at 334 Sandy Springs Circle had donated more than 1,200 pounds of goods to the pantry by that time.

By April 27, the state allowed dine-in restaurants to reopen, but owner Jason Sheetz said he preferred the food pantry stay in business at press time. For more information, see solidaritysandysprings.com.

Photos by Phil Mosier

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.