The Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry is celebrating a new location on Northwood Drive this weekend with open houses on June 27 and 28.

After forming to serve school families who had difficulties in getting food once the COVID-19 pandemic closed businesses and caused layoffs or furloughs, the food pantry had to change locations. The new location at 120 Northwood Drive, Suite 155, off Roswell Road just south of I-285.

The organization is in a fund drive to raise $25,000 that will be matched by a donor, which the organization said was welcome news after the city of Sandy Springs turned down a grant application. Donations can be made with PayPal via the food pantry website at solidaritysandysprings.com/donate.

The open house on June 27 will feature tacos and music from 10 a.m. to noon. The food pantry will be set up for social distancing with tours given on June 28 from noon to 2 p.m.

Food and other items are needed by the food pantry, or donation of funds to purchase them. The food pantry buys food through wholesale suppliers. The volunteer run operation depends on donations of food and funds to purchase food.

The food pantry previously operated out of two restaurants while they were closed for the pandemic: Samad Grill at 8897 Roswell Road and Under the Cork Tree at 5600 Roswell Road.

The 120 Northwood building is slated to be demolished and replaced with a storage facility and some nonprofit space by 2022. The Community Assistance Center, another nonprofit, has operated a food pantry out of that location as well.

A request by the group for federal Community Development Block Grant funds from the city was rejected because it is too new and its organizers are not familiar with the processes and record-keeping required for CDBG funds, Mayor Rusty Paul said during the June 16 City Council meeting. Sandy Springs Charter Middle School Foundation also had its grant application rejected for that reason.

“The fact that they may not be here in this capacity down the road was a concern,” Paul said.

A few days after the meeting Sandy Springs Solidarity began advertising for an experienced fundraising expert to help raise $50,000 they estimated was needed to fund the pantry through August. A volunteer donor relations team member also was sought.

But the organization was able to announce a matching donation of up to $25,000 on June 19 on its Facebook page.

The funds are in addition to the regular donations of food and personal hygiene supplies they have been receiving.

The food pantry’s regular hours are 9 to noon for shopping on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Donation hours are held from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The food pantry remains closed on Sunday.

Community members and the Barnes Young Team Realty created the food pantry, which originally was located at Under the Cork Tree in The Prado. In late May they moved to the Northwood Drive location.

Solidarity Sandy Springs was the beneficiary of a drive-in showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at The Springs Cinema & Taphouse on June 25, sponsored by the Barnes Young Team.

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