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Activist to open pair of pantries to enrich, help Asheboro

Asheboro residents could see the establishment of a new book and food pantry over the next several weeks.

This is according to local activist Dimitria McSwain.

“After we get the book pantry up, we are talking about getting up a food pantry as well,” McSwain said.

The founder of The Hope of Eastside, McSwain is an advocate for local communities she feels are underrepresented by local government. Her organization is geared toward providing young people programs, she feels, are needed in the community.

“We want to improve activities for kids outside of school,” McSwain said, adding that things have changed in her community since officials moved the local Boys and Girls Club.

Wanting to fill that hole left behind, McSwain and her organization has put on a number of programs for local kids.

“We created this organization … pretty much to improve the neighborhood, improve their education,” McSwain said.

McSwain’s attempt to start a book pantry was born out of this desire to enrich the lives of children outside of the classroom.

According to McSwain, the book pantry will be located at East Side Park. Kids and adults alike can take or exchange books from a repository that McSwain plans to keep stocked.

McSwain said she hopes that the kinds of books she plans on including will provide children with supplementary instruction that they might not get in school.

"These history books leave a lot of things out,” McSwain said. “I don’t want kids to grow up and not know things about their history and their people the way I grew up not knowing things about my history.”

McSwain hopes to have the book kiosk up and running before the end of the calendar year.

Her food pantry project, however, wouldn’t be the first food pantry in her community.

"Me and my best friend was driving by [a food pantry] one day and I was like, ‘This is awesome,’” McSwain said. “This is something that can really benefit the east side.”

Despite being inspired by other food pantries, McSwain plans on operating her forthcoming food pantry differently from others. While other food pantries distribute groceries on a specific schedule, McSwain’s food pantry will be available to the public at all hours.

"Even though our soup kitchen does give out free meals during the day, there are a lot of people at night that don’t have anything,” McSwain said. “There are people that are homeless (and) there are people that aren’t necessarily homeless but don’t have the means to feed themselves.”

McSwain’s pantry is similar to pantry’s found in larger cities that operate under the honor system. People will be expected to take only what they need.

McSwain hopes to have her food pantry up and running by March. She added that local officials support what she is trying to establish. She hopes that the public will feel the same way.

She encourages those who want to contribute to contact her at (336) 257-5327 or make a donation to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen or the Café on Loach Street, which are both helping with these projects.