It is often said that if you can choose to be anything, you should choose to be kind. Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech Culinary Arts student and Dartmouth resident Abigail Medeiros took this saying and truly brought it to life. Outside of her home, Abby built a mini food pantry outside of to offer non-perishable food items to those facing hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak. Her act of kindness was picked up by Standard Times reporter, Curt Brown, and is trending on today’s social media.
Article below is Courtesy from the New Bedford Standard Times / southcoasttoday.com
DARTMOUTH — If you have been on Slocum Road in the area of Bishop Stang High School, you might have noticed what looks like a little house sitting on a cinderblock wall.
The structure is about 3 feet high and 2 feet wide, has a red door, shingles atop and has been there for about a week.
It is Abby’s Food Pantry and it is the brainchild of Abby Medeiros, a 16-year-old aspiring artist and sophomore in Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech’s culinary program.
On the front of the pantry, it says three things: take what you need; leave what you can; and be safe and stay healthy.
“It’s a little food pantry. It’s free to anyone in need,” Abby said in a phone interview this week. “My main goal is to give back to the community. My mom and dad always said to pay it forward when you have what you need.”
Her mother is Sonia Cerrato and her father is David Medeiros, a Dartmouth carpenter.
Medeiros built the little pantry, which is secured on a post on the front cinderbock wall right facing Slocum Road, based on of his daughter’s idea.
Abby organized a canned food drive for the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen in the past and came up with the pantry concept last Thanksgiving. “I wanted to do something to bring it to the people,” she said.
She spoke to her father and he said he could build a box to house the canned goods. Then Abby got an idea for a structure from something she saw online and worked with her father to realize it. “But I wanted it to be bigger,” she said.
Medeiros built it and Abby painted and decorated it.
“It’s open to anyone, anytime,” she said, explaining she did it to help those in need, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s always open.”
Family and friends kicked off the pantry with donations of canned soup and vegetables, Abby said. A priest came over and looked at it and said it was good for the community and passersby have also noticed it.
The pandemic has been “very devastating” to people and has hurt the economy, she said. “I pray for families who are losing things,” she said.
Abby said she purposely has not been watching to see if people take items from the food pantry. She believes it is important not to judge others and for people to feel safe and know they can take what they need.
“I just want people to know they can take whatever they need,” she said.
The pantry is typical of Abby, who is a caring person, said her stepfather, Felix Cerrato. “She has a very big heart when it comes to helping others,” he said
Abby has been taking classes online Monday through Friday because school are closed in the pandemic. “I miss the social interaction,” she said.
She aspires to be an artist and has already had a couple of shows of her acrylic outdoor wildlife paintings at White’s of Westport. She got the bug for painting at age 8 when her father would take her with him to art galleries where he was working.
She eventually would like to be an art teacher for special needs children, she said.
“That’s my dream,” she said.
Follow Curt Brown on Twitter @CurtBrown_SCT