Channel 4 surprises founder of The Little Pantry That Could - WSMV News 4

Channel 4 surprises woman who founded The Little Pantry That Could

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Stacy Downey founded The Little Pantry That Could. (WSMV) Stacy Downey founded The Little Pantry That Could. (WSMV)

The Little Pantry That Could has been helping Nashville families ever since the devastating flood in 2010.

Stacy Downey, the founder of the program, has a pantry with shelves full of donated canned and packaged food, along with 20-plus volunteers who accompany the shoppers as they fill their bags.

"This place is not about putting food in a bag, it's about the connections we can make with folks today," she said. "We get so much out of this just to be able to have these different relationships that we build and the community that we've built."

Downey has committed her life to helping others in more ways than can be counted.

One shopper said Downey makes her feel welcome at the pantry and that she doesn't feel judged when she comes to get food.

The volunteers say Downey makes a huge impact on the community.

"This lady is like a book out of the Bible. One couple that came in ... they had been hitchhiking, this woman's feet were blistered and soaking wet. She took that lady's feet and she cleaned her feet, put medicine on them, gave her socks and new shoes, even fed the little dog," said volunteer Bianaca Morrison. "Stacy is amazing."

Volunteer Mary Kay Goodwin said there are not many challenges that Downey will turn down.

"She goes out in in the middle of the night and will pick somebody up. She'll go out in the middle of the night and bring somebody to the emergency room," Goodwin said.

Nine to 13,000 pounds of food are brought in to the pantry each Friday. It's all completely gone by Saturday.

To spring the surprise on Downey, Channel 4 News Today anchors Holly Thompson and Chris Miller volunteered to help stock shelves.

In just a short period of time, they felt the sense of community at the Little Pantry That Could and why the name of the pantry was so perfect.

Channel 4 surprised Downey with a check for $4,000, but that wasn't all.

Steve Brewster, the owner and president of Wholesale Inc., also handed Downey the keys to a new minivan.

"I hear from everyone that you really, really deserve it. We're glad and honored to be here today to give you this van for the way that you support and take care of the community," Brewster said.

Downey was stunned.

"That is awesome. This is the stuff that we dream about," she said.

Have someone you'd like to nominate for the Surprise Squad? Click here to fill out the nomination form.

Click here to read more about The Little Pantry That Could.

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