Dallas woman opens community pantry in Pleasant Grove to honor grandmother

A Dallas woman inspired by the woman who changed her life is giving back to her community in Pleasant Grove.

Community food pantries are popping up all across North Texas when one person makes a decision to do something greater than themselves.

That’s exactly what Marah Suarez is doing with her community food pantry, Maria’s Bodeguita.

"I saw one in Oak Cliff, and I thought we don’t have enough of that," she said. "And I thought of an area that could benefit from it. We don’t want to put it someplace where people aren't going to benefit from it and this location, despite it being really noisy gets a lot of traffic."

In the 8700 block of busy Lake June Road in Pleasant Grove is Suarez’s store.

"So the idea is that you take what you need and you leave what you can," she said.

Marah named the take-what-you-need-leave-what-you-can pantry after her grandmother Maria.

"She was the one who really instilled in me to feed whoever comes through your door. That is the love language," she said.

Maria was not Marah's biological grandmother. She "adopted" Marah and her teenage mother.

"And the love that she has shown my mom and I has been unexplainable," she said. "I can’t even describe the kind of love and compassion that she showed the 16-year-old with her newborn daughter.

The love shown to her Marah shows to others while honoring her grandmother.

"My grandmother is just this light to everybody. Light and love," she said. "And I think that seed was planted before I even knew it."

The little store is loaded with nonperishables. Someone built it at no cost.

"I painted it myself," Marah said. "And over on this side, we have a list of things that they could drop off."

A childhood friend owns the property where the pantry sits.

Marah is hoping to expand.

"I am also working closely with the Dallas Liberation Movement," she said. "We're thinking of finding someplace if not where to set up a fridge. While this is okay, it’s not sustainable. We need produce. We need meat."

Maria's Bodeguita is the harvest of a seed planted years ago by Marah's grandmother of compassion that's now producing a harvest of food for the Pleasant Grove community.