SAN ANTONIO — Outside a CBD shop at 1802 E. Commerce stands a tall green box with the words "Take What You Need, Give What You Can," in large letters across the front. Summer Vinton and her family opened the small pantry to help those in need for her 13th birthday last year.
With the help of social media and small donations, they’ve kept the tall green box located stocked with food, books, warm clothes, and hygiene products.
“We started off with like 10 followers on Instagram and that's, that's mostly where we get our donations from,” said Vinton.
Since opening in August, Vinton and her family have helped others start their own free pantries.
“In San Antonio, there was about, like, two pantries,” Vinton said. “and now there’s like 13 or 14 after we started. when we started.”
In its first six months, @freelittlepantrySA brought in $3,000 in donations. When the storm hit, they brought in $9,000 in a single week.
“I think people came to the realization that these people are going to be hurt or die maybe because of the cold weathers,” Vinton said.
Among other things, they used the donations for food, hand warmers, and hotel rooms for some of their unhoused neighbors to survive the storm.
Vinton said the connection with the people she is able to help is all the reward she needs.
“I feel loved by these people and I hope they feel loved by me as well,” she said.