DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With God’s Grace food pantry is serving hundreds more Miami Valley families during the coronavirus pandemic and have had to change their procedures because of social distancing.
The organization is continuing its mobile pantries, but they in addition to their previous walk-up distribution at their Springfield St. address are now all drive-thru. The pantry is also distributing pre-packaged boxes because of coronavirus concerns.
Nicole Adkins, Executive Director of With God’s Grace, projected on Wednesday, April 1, they would help 1500 families at their 622 Springfield Street location. She said that number continues to go up as the weeks go on and more places close with Governor Mike DeWine’s orders.
“We did one (mobile pantry) on Xenia Ave., and before that, our our highest ever was 210,” said Adkins. “When we just did it, we had 572 families show up.”
Adkins said they’re also only distributing food through a drive-thru set up which impacts the many local residents that typically walk to their pantry.
But she said this is a change for safety reasons because it allows them to continue social distancing.
“If you could find somebody that would deliver it for you, they could come in and still come through the drive-thru, have your name, number and address, and deliver it to you,” said Adkins. “If we have that opportunity where I have someone say ‘If you know someone that needs food just let us know, and we’ll deliver it for them,’ I will put them in contact with that person.”
Adkins said they have a core group of volunteers helping, but they take their temperature as soon as they walk in and throughout the day. But they have had to cut back on the number of people allowed inside and those that do help out are under strict social distancing guidelines when they leave the pantry.
Another recent change is With God’s Grace is no longer taking in any personal donations or food that does not come from a warehouse.
Adkins said this is to cut down on any possible cross-contamination.
“We were getting items from the grocery stores that were already out in the public, we had to discontinue this at that time,” said Adkins.
That means they’re not getting the same amount of donations.
They are also not allowing anyone to hand pick their food, instead that core group of volunteers spent Tuesday pre-packing enough boxes to hand out Wednesday.
“They get a pre-packaged box that has at least 18-19 items, which has about nine different meals,” said Adkins. “I know it’s not the meals that they used to be able to get because we used to give a lot of fresh produce but we’re no longer getting that from the grocery stores.”
Adkins said they won’t take any personal donations until the coronavirus threat is over but their need for monetary donations continues as the number of families using their services go up.
“We’re going through so many boxes, we’re going through so much food,” said Adkins. “We’re going through paper products, tape, there is so much behind the scenes in added costs that we’ve never had before.”
For more information on With God’s Grace, click here.
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