Construction is underway for Magnolia-based essential services provider Society of Samaritans to expand its food pantry from 700 square feet to 2,500 square feet.

Located at 31355 Friendship Drive, Magnolia, Society of Samaritans offers food assistance, job services and financial assistance to those in need.

According to Executive Director Shirley Jensen, construction for the expansion project began on Dec. 1, 2020 and is slated to be completed in April later this year. In addition to expanding the organization’s pantry services, Jensen said office space will also be added for the Financial Family Services department.

According to Jensen, the added room will allow for a more diverse selection of food, and clients will be able to select their own items.

“The client will have the room to walk through with the grocery cart, pick their own groceries and make decisions for their family, and that way we'll know they'll enjoy the food they get,” Jensen said.

The pantry’s expansion comes just in time as the organization has seen increased demand for food assistance services as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020 alone, Jensen said the Society of Samaritans food pantry serviced over 15,900 families, including 67,000 household members.

“Since COVID-19 has struck, we’ve seen three times as many clients as we did before,” Jensen said. “This expansion will allow us to stock healthy foods, [and] be prepared for immediate needs and special needs that we're seeing for families that have children and babies especially. We're just so thankful and excited that this is going to happen.”

Funding for the expansion comes from the Montgomery County Community Development department’s Community Development Block Grant. 281-259-8452.