DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Hundreds of cars wrapped around the block at With God’s Grace Wednesday for their drive-thru distribution as volunteers with the pantry estimated they helped between 1,200 and 1,500 families just that day.
But because of social distancing and other guidelines, With God’s Grace helped many more families than those that just showed up.
Zana Wheeler is a caseworker at a local outpatient program for those recovering from substance abuse, and told 2 NEWS she was picking up multiple boxes to then deliver.
“Today I went and picked up approximately ten food boxes and my coworker right behind me picked up an additional seven,” said Wheeler.
She also said this was her second time just this week going to a local food pantry, on Monday they picked up 19 boxes from another food pantry.
“Normally clients can get out with support and family members and visit food pantries and grocery stores on their own, but due to the stay at home order, and us trying to cut down on community spread, we’ve got several case managers who are out in the community doing hands-on case management for our clients,” said Wheeler.
Dan Acuff, a volunteer at With God’s Grace, was busy all day Wednesday packing trunks.
He said he has been volunteering at the pantry for about two years and is glad they’re there to help because he is seeing hundreds of new faces using their services because of the coronavirus.
“It’s a real blessing to be here and do this, because I know it’s helping people and there’s people who might not have enough food if we weren’t here,” said Acuff.
Because of social distancing and other coronavirus related guidelines, With God’s Grace is doing strictly drive-thru distributions until further notice.
“In the past when we’ve come here, we’ve actually went inside the building with all of our clients and they would go through like an assembly line and pick out their food,” said Wheeler. “So the drive-thru has helped tremendously with cutting down on community spread and just the organizational factor because there’s a lot of people in need right now.”
Nicole Adkins, the Executive Director of With God’s Grace, said they’ve also had to ramp up their donation requirements. The pantry is no longer accepting personal donations or any donations from a grocery store of items that have already been on the shelves or in the public.
On top of the drive-thru and donation changes, Acuff said they’re working with limited volunteers.
They’re taking the volunteers’ temperatures multiple times every day and have sent some home because of elevated temperatures, and Acuff said they’re also following strict guidelines when they’re not at With God’s Grace.
“We’re really self isolating at home so we try not to go anywhere so that our only contact is here,” said Acuff.
For more information on With God’s Grace and their future distributions, click here.