Dallas woman opens community food pantry in Pleasant Grove in honor of her grandmother

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

Community pantries are popping up all over North Texas when a person makes the decision to do something bigger than themselves.

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

“I saw one at Oak Cliff, and I thought we didn’t have enough,” she said. “And I thought of an area that could benefit from that. We don’t want to put it in a place where people won’t enjoy it and that place, although it’s very noisy, gets a lot of traffic.”

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

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

Marah named the pantry take out what you need and leave what you can in honor of her grandmother Maria.

“She was the one who really instilled in me to nurture anyone who walks through your door. It’s the language of love,” she said.

Maria was not Marah’s biological grandmother. She “adopted” Marah and her teenage mother.

“And the love she showed my mother and me is inexplicable,” she said. “I can’t even describe the kind of love and compassion she showed the 16-year-old with her newborn daughter.

The love we have for her Marah shows it to others while honoring her grandmother.

“My grandmother is just that light for everyone. Light and love,” she said. “And I think that seed was planted before I even knew it.”

The small store is stocked with non-perishable food. Someone built it for free.

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

A childhood friend owns the property where the pantry is located.

Marah hopes to grow.

“I also work closely with the Dallas Liberation Movement,” she said. “We’re thinking of finding somewhere else to put a fridge. While that’s 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 compassionate grandmother that now produces a crop of food for the Pleasant Grove community.

Norma P. Rex