A Turning Point
Kansas City, MO
We developed a new drive-thru system to distribute the most essential resource: food. Creating a new check-in system, a new way to register first-time clients, a safe way to accommodate the hundreds of cars through the line, a system by which to pack food while keeping it safe - all of these were obstacles that were overcome to continue to serve in those first few months of the pandemic.
As businesses began to reopen, we began to serve inside the building again for all our programs. Doing this required us to put more new systems into place: an appointment-based structure was developed to abide by social distancing guidelines, a new style of serving the clients evolved allowing the clients to still have full client choice while remaining safe in the space, the way we utilize volunteers has changed giving them even more ownership in the process, and the overall approach to serving our client base has become more client-focused and personal.
Banco de Alimentos Puerto Rico, Inc. (Food Bank of Puerto Rico)
Carolina, Puerto Rico
For over 6 months Puerto Rico's public school system cafeteria had been closed to students. Many underprivileged families rely on these for their children's main nutritional needs. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs during the pandemic and many families, children especially, were not able to secure food.
The Food Bank of Puerto Rico's School Backpack program traditionally provides meals for food insecure children during the weekend only.
Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico “Mochila Alegre” school backpack program participants were contacted and provided with food replacement options for them and their families with bi-weekly food boxes.
Additionally, emergency donations were later expanded to similar families that were not current “Mochila Alegre” school backpack program participants.
There is no greater satisfaction than the smile of children when they receive the much needed gift of food and the tears of joy on the face of their parents, aware of how difficult it is to provide food and care during these trying times. Parents are overwhelmed by the generosity of our staff and volunteers. And they are so thankful.
Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, our 26 backpack program participants, community leaders and some PTA.
Beacon Heights Comm. of Christ
Low income families in the Independence Mo. School district not having enough food to feed their families. This became an even bigger problem when COVID-19 led to stay at home orders and significant spikes in unemployment.
A group of churches formed Neighborhood Networks and with the help of Harvesters a program was developed to bring families together to help with food needs and to find ways to help families to be knowledgeable of community services which would help them to have a more secure home. Because we already had this program in place, we were able to ramp up our service to ensure that families in our community continued to have access to food during a year of increased need.
Almost 8 years later some 20 families have learned how to relate to each other and help in times of need.
A core group of church members provide food and service.
Bishop Sullivan Center
Kansas City, MO
We realize not only are people "food insecure," but they are also often not able to have access to good, healthy food. This is even more so as a result of COVID-19, which has created mass unemployment issues, meaning more people than ever are in need of food assistance.
We came up with a new feeding program called "One City Café," it not only feeds people, but we also know food is medicine. So we feed people very good food that they would like, but keeping in mind their health.
Often working in the non-profit world, there are good people who want to help. Yet we are working to know that you don't just want to feed people in need, you want to take the approach of "Food as Medicine." So we hired a chef, made some renovations and our guests LOVE having access to
- Delicious food
- Food that helps with their health
Delicious and healthy food is even more important during a year when it is important to stay healthy in order to prevent illness.
We partnered with Health Forward, a foundation that looks at moving people's lives forward. We also used the community as a whole and a nutritionist to help guide our menu choices.
Blue Hills Church, Good Pantry
Kansas City, MO
Feeding over 500 families each month and more during a Pandemic with limited resources and practicing social distancing and other safety measures.
We immediately started a "Drive by" food pick up. We asked our clients to remain in their cars as we loaded their car with food. We reduced our volunteer staff to comply with "pandemic" standards, we wore masks, we sanitized regularly, we requried each person in our pantry to have their temperature check before entering the building.
We received great support from Harversters Food bank. We took every opportunity to get "free" items; tuna, cereal, potatoes, etc. We were able to continue serving our seniors their commodity boxes of food.
Our "aha" moment came when we realized we were serving more people during the pandemic than ever before, and we had ample food due to Harvester's Food bank and other donors, commiting to give generously during this time.
We involved Harvesters' Food Bank, Community Action Agency, members of our Church gave donations also.
Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
Colorado Springs, CO
Across Southern Colorado (the territory that defines Care and Share Food Bank’s service area) the rate of food-insecurity is projected to grow from 11.8% to 17.3% as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our network of over 250 partner food pantries, shelters, community centers, and schools help create food access for impacted neighbors. However, we discovered that for some heavily impacted neighborhoods, quarantine restrictions and transportation barriers made it difficult for neighbors in need to access a Care and Share partner.
With neighbors facing additional barriers to food access as a result of the pandemic, Care and Share developed an innovative solution: our first Mobile Market.
Launched in May 2020, the Mobile Market is an outfitted beverage truck that operates like a grocer on wheels, designed to mobilize quickly and deliver food directly into hard-to-reach neighborhoods with high concentrations of need.
This program serves an average of 75 neighbors per distribution and has capacity to serve 200. This model lends itself to maintaining physical distance while serving individuals and families who do not have access to reliable transportation.
As we received an influx of requests from new communities, organizations, and neighbors at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew we’d need a distribution model that could mobilize quickly and efficiently to reach vulnerable populations. By launching our Mobile Market, we have established partnerships across 7 new sites, making 15-20 deliveries per month.
The partners for this program, such as Veteran’s Centers, Mobile Home parks, and subsidized housing complexes, are often ineligible to become partner agencies to Care and Share. Fortunately, because of our Mobile Market, we are able partner with these sites and serve their neighbors.
Since May 2020, this program has distributed 130,655 pounds of food, helping over 6,000 neighbors, including Richelle: The first time Richelle stopped by one of our Mobile Market Distributions, she was shocked by the amount and type of food she was able to take home. “I received chicken, pork, vegetables, fruit, grains and milk from Care and Share,” she said. A mom of two growing elementary school kids, she told us her children (surprisingly) love the fruits and the vegetables.
Richelle is a teacher at a pre-school program in Colorado Springs. She and her husband rely on her income, and oftentimes, they are living “paycheck to paycheck.” She told us the food she receives from our Mobile Market helps with lowering her grocery bill. They are able to focus on paying the rent and utilities. “I want my kids to know that we will do anything for them. I don’t want to them to see us struggling. This helps a lot.”
Our Mobile Market wouldn’t be possible without the support of so many community members! Hundreds of volunteers have helped package food into grab-and-go bags to limit contact with product and promote social distancing at distributions. In addition, volunteers help us set up and distribute food to neighbors who visit the market.
The current partner sites for our Mobile Market include Servicios De La Raza, Meadows Park Community Center, Sacred Heart Church in Avondale, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, Emerald Acres Mobile Home Park, Stratmoor Hills Neighborhood, and Greccio Housing.
Carry the Cross
Kansas City, KS
We run a community outreach in a low-income neighborhood. Most families around us have at least one and up to 3 or four children. With the pandemic, folks were losing jobs and families were going hungry. We knew as an organization we needed to step up our game to be able to meet needs for those around us.
We began to pool our resources and our community partners and started amping up outreach, communication and resourcing. We began by increasing our supply level in our food pantry with the help of Harvesters, a couple of churches as well as individuals who had volunteered with us in the past. As we were blessed physically with food and supplies we decided to take it even further and began to purchase gift cards to our local Aldi's where the families could increase their options for what they put on the table. We were able to build many new relationships and to this day after month's of going through this we are still able to meet daily needs.
Our "aha" moments continue daily as those who are in our circles have come alongside of our organization to support us as we have stepped out to help others. We would never have been able to reach as many folks as we have without the support of our partners. Knowing that we have this support we have continued to be able to bless folks in need way beyond what we ever thought possible!
The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Harvesters have both gone above and beyond the call. Harvester's not only has continued to supply numerous organizations around our city with food needs but they also blessed us financially as well giving us the opportunity to open more doors to serving others then we thought we could. The GKCCF blessed our organization financially so we could bless others financially. We have also had several local churches and individuals who have helped us keep the pantry stocked and ready to serve!
Central Illinois Food Bank
One day, the Foodbank’s Executive Director was on the phone talking to the caterer who prepares our Kids Café meals. He has moved mountains to accommodate our changing needs. Sadly, as she was getting ready to get off the phone, he shared with her that the Foodbank was basically his only customer at that time.
Hearing this, it became apparent that we had the opportunity to do more to support local businesses during the pandemic. We decided to work with him to prepare 5,000 home delivered meals for seniors as well as an additional 5,000 frozen meals for distribution throughout the service area.
Prior to the conversation, we had no idea that his work had basically halted due to COVID-19. We made the decision to go local whenever possible and clearly it has paid off.
With the help of Feeding America and the many generous donors and grantors that support our mission, we are helping to keep many of his employees working. These types of realizations give us the hope and inspiration that will carry us through this difficult time.
Central Illinois Foodbank feels so blessed to work with our national partners, our state partners, and our local partners who are all pulling together to take care of one of the most basic of needs- nourishing our neighbors.
Central Pennsylvania Foodbank
In March, it quickly became apparent that we needed to scale up our food distribution work as the economic consequences of the pandemic cost thousands of jobs in our community.
To feed the newly food insecure members of our community, along with those who were already struggling before the pandemic, we needed to increase our distribution of food by nearly 50%. We did not have the infrastructure on-hand to pack and transport that much food across our 27-county region.
We developed two key partnerships to help us source, pack, and distribute this extra food: FedEx and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
FedEx donated drivers and trucks from March to May 2020, helping us haul nearly 100 truckloads of food to families across central Pennsylvania. Their in-kind support of drivers and trucks gave us time to hire a 3rd shift in our warehouse. Once the FedEx drivers went back to their regular routes, we were ready to keep food moving overnight, allowing us to more efficiently use our own fleet of trucks.
Secondly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture loaned us the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex to use as a packing site. This was critical as we needed space for more volunteers to pack this excess food, and the space needed to allow for social distancing. Since March 2020, volunteers at the Farm Show have packed more than 250,000 “crisis response boxes” full of healthy shelf-stable food.
At Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, we have always known that we cannot solve hunger alone. Truly meeting the needs of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity requires deep partnerships. This has proven to be even more true than ever in 2020 as we have relied on the community to support the work of the Food Bank in new and innovative ways during the pandemic. We are so grateful for FedEx, the PA Department of Agriculture, and all our partners who play a key role in our mission. Because of these partnerships, we have been able to increase our food distribution by 50% and consistently feed 60,000 more individuals (total of 200,000) each month since the pandemic began.
We would like to share an email from Jason at FedEx speaking to their support of Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in the early days of the pandemic:
Good morning, I am writing to let you know that Friday 5/22 will be the last day FedEx will be able to offer help to the Central PA Food Bank. Business levels are picking up and we need our drivers back in the operation. We all knew this day would come, and I have not been looking forward to sending this email. I grew up with a Harrisburg address and attended Central Dauphin HS, H.A.C.C., and Penn State. My dad grew up in Harrisburg and my mom grew up in the small town of New Columbia near Williamsport. I have strong ties to this region and I truly love Central Pennsylvania.
I want to take this moment to thank the Central PA Food Bank for everything you do for those I consider “my people.” You provide food for the most vulnerable in critical times of need and I will forever be thankful for the work you do. I am proud to be part of one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my career. Proud that the company I work for was willing to donate the labor. Proud of the work the FedEx dispatchers did to coordinate the day to day help. Proud of the drivers that hauled nearly 100 loads of food. Most of all I am, and always will be, proud that this region has a top notch organization like yours to provide help to those in need.
When I think back on this pandemic in the future I will remember this, and I will be proud that I was part of this team. Thank you for giving all of us at FedEx the feeling that we made a difference. Jason L., Egineer - Field Engineering FedEx Freight.
Dayspring Pentecostal Food Pantry
Kansas City, MO
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, unemployment rates in the Kansas City area rose to record levels. Many business and employers were forced to lay-off employees and/or close their doors completely. This had a devastating impact on the Kansas City area as leaving families struggling to pay their rent, mortgages and put food on the table. Many families lost their jobs and or had their work hours reduced causing significant financial hardship. The pandemic presented great challenges to the public service agencies and food pantries in the metropolitan area.
During these difficult times, DaySpring Pentecostal Church Food Pantry has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by restructuring our food pantry to better assist families desperately in food, support and resource assistance.
In creating a Drive-Thru pantry, we are able to provide nutritious foods and hand sanitizer safely to families directly to the truck or back-seat of their cars. Without interruption, DaySpring Pentecostal Church has worked closely with Harvesters Community Food Network to provide emergency food support and resources to the Kansas City Area.
The community has been extremely grateful for the continued support and new transition of the Drive Thru Pantry. We have had many families come that have lost jobs, housing and are experiencing the challenges of feeding school age children that normally receive food assistance at school. Dayspring has been able to provide emergency support to homeless, and people living in their cars by adapting boxes of meals for their specific needs.
Many tears and much thanksgiving has been offered by our neighbors and community members for the support they have received. Dayspring Pantry has lost beloved volunteers, recipients and family members of recipients due to the recent Covid-19 crisis. It is amazing to see the community and pantry team pull together to meet and emotional, spiritual and nutritious needs of our citizens.
Harvesters Food Network has been an excellent resource for the DaySpring Pentecostal Church Food Pantry. The have worked hard via grants and donations to get the necessary food items to our pantry for delivery to the community. They have gone above and beyond in the last few months to assist in times of great need so that there was sufficient foods to hand out. They have reached into their supplies to provide special deliveries when our pantry was in need. A big thank you to the team and management staff at the Kansas City Harvester’s Food Network.
Also, community members and volunteers have provided vital support to the DaySpring Pantry. We appreciate their hard work. We also give a big thank you to those that have dropped off donations of food for distribution.
East Texas Food Bank
COVID-19 has presented the perfect storm of increased demand, declines in donations of food and disruptions to the charitable food assistance system’s operating model. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, hunger was already a crisis in East Texas, with 1 in 5 East Texans, including 1 in 3 children.
At the height of the pandemic, that number increased to 1 in 4 East Texans who were in need of food assistance. For many, being quarantined resulted in lost wages, difficulties accessing enough food, and an increased reliance on the East Texas Food Bank (ETFB) to fill their plates.
In addition to the health threat, school closures, job disruptions, and lack of paid sick leave all had a disproportionate impact on the elderly and low-income families in our communities. Additionally, drastic declines in retail food donations, social distancing limitations on volunteer efforts, and the need for low-contact distributions presented challenges to ETFB’ss standard pantry distribution model.
ETFB exists to fight hunger and feed hope in East Texas, and when our neighbors are struggling, we are here to help. Our efficient work and extensive hunger relief network of more than 200 partner agencies and programs enable us to respond quickly and effectively during disasters or times of increased need.
To meet the evolving and increasing needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, ETFB had to immediately alter our food distribution model in order to ensure the health and safety of our clients, as well as staff and volunteers.
One of the most important services ETFB provides is emergency food relief when disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornados, or pandemics occur. ETFB plays a significant role in relief and recovery efforts throughout our service area and the surrounding regions. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our East Texas communities, ETFB knew the quickest, safest and most efficient way to get immediate food relief to those affected was the distribution of emergency food boxes because they could be distributed using a low-contact, drive-thru model that meets recommended health and safety guidelines.
They also contain particular types of food that are appropriate for immediate disaster relief like canned goods and shelf stable food items. ETFB also distributed fresh food items like milk, fruits, and vegetables along with these emergency boxes. Families in the midst of dealing with a health crisis should not have the additional worry of wondering where their next meal is coming from. ETFB is dedicated to providing emergency food relief to individuals and families across East Texas whenever it is needed.
ETFB worked proactively to meet the immediate and growing needs of low-income individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities by coordinating our efforts with volunteers, partner agencies, school districts, food delivery services, and other community organizations, as well as our national and state food bank networks Feeding America and Feeding Texas.
Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center
Kansas City, MO
Due to having their employment deemed non-essential work and the widespread stay at home orders, the families we serve at Emmanuel, found themselves without jobs or money to feed their families.
To combat hunger, for over 242 children and 133 families, Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center started a meals-on-wheels feeding program.
Emmanuel has been able to deliver 120 breakfasts and lunches daily and groceries weekly to children in our program and in the community, in addition to providing 75 meals to parents. Delivering meals has also provided the opportunity to keep our drivers employed as they deliver meals to families.
When 90% of our families we serve lost their Job due to COVID-19, we at Emmanuel realized that we had to do something to help.
Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center and Through a partnership with Harvesters, the KC Royals, and the Daniel Keating Foundation we are able to combat hungry.
Facing Hunger Food Bank
We identified that many of the congregate feeding sites across our service area that had stopped operations at the state of the pandemic, had returned to service, but in many cases due to the lack of availability of volunteers or cut back in employees, services were greatly diminished. This was especially true for our local homeless veteran’s outreach center.
Food that had previously been picked up or resourced by volunteers to provide ‘grab and go’ bags was not available and staffing furloughs did not provide relief. This meant that an average of 25 homeless veterans were not able to access emergency hunger relief support at the site. The impact of losing a consistent source for food was contributing to a “domino effect” for these men and women as they weren’t achieving adequate nutrition and needed to use what resources they may have to purchase food. If they did not have resources, they became more physically vulnerable to illness and health related issues.
We knew something had to be done.
Since March, we have been supporting the program through donated and purchased product, that at times, has been inconsistent and not uniform in nutritional value due to the nature of the donations and availability of access of the types of foods best suited for the program.
When we received notification of the gracious support from the Westfield funding*, we determined that we would direct it to the sustainability of purchase and provision of food for the homeless veterans served through the program. The funding will sustain the program with a wealth of nutritious portable food products that will ensure that we are supporting our veterans in a manner that is honoring to the lives they dedicated to serving our country.
As I am writing this on Veterans Day, I am even more committed to this initiative and grateful for the resources to ensure that we are supporting them in a manner that comes closer to the honor of their service.
*In addition to Solve It, Westfield’s $350,000 grant to Feeding America was divided amongst 20 food banks in our operating territory identified as having thing most need in their state.
In terms of an ‘Aha’ moment, there have been many, but all prompted by the pandemic. The safety net of services that support – in the best of times – over 129,000 souls in our seventeen-county service area, was revealed with many holes in that net when the weight of an additional 61,000 souls were added to the need.
But challenges can be revealed as opportunity and blessings in disguise when we dig in to reveal better ways to serve in the ‘new normal’ and maybe the ‘Aha’ moment is in realizing that framing things as opportunity for growth and improvement – no matter the circumstance, place or time – always improves the quality of life for those we serve.
This initiative would not be possible without the partnership and support of the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, the staff of the Homeless Veterans Resource Center, and the homeless advocacy effort in Cabell County, West Virginia. Special acknowledgment for the support from Human as we jumped in and continued the program with minimal resources.
Family Resource Centers of Missouri
Kansas City, MO
In the communities we serve, many seniors and immuno-compromised individuals were too afraid to leave their homes to seek help with food and other supplies.
To meet the need of over 100 seniors, we started a door to door food pantry. Seniors and disabled individuals are able to call in and place an order for food and have it delivered to their door.
At the beginning of the pandemic, seniors hunkered down in their homes. Most not letting anyone in or leaving out.
We received a call from a local doctors office, asking if we could help a home bound senior who reported she had not eaten in days. She was a recent widow with no children. She had very little income and had no idea how to use Insta cart or other apps to order her groceries. That's when we stepped in! We delivery groceries to seniors, immuno-compromised individuals and families with high risk children.
We deliver groceries to almost a hundred families a week.
The Family Resource Center of Cass County and the Family Resource Center of Jackson County staff and many volunteers from the community.
Feeding America Eastern WI
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a tremendous increase in food insecurity in the communities we serve. To ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff, and pantry clients, our food network had to quickly adapt to abide by social distancing guidelines, and to ramp up our capacity to meet the additional demand. This included figuring out sustainable alternatives to the traditional pantry setting.
Greater New Birth Church has been a member of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin for over 20 years. To meet the increasing need and ensure the safety of all staff, volunteers, and participants, the church sought new ways to help the community and adapt to COVID-19 by transitioning to a drive-through service. At the first drive-through pantry, cars lined up for more than 10 blocks to take part in the distribution. Over 1,300 families were served with 30 to 40 pounds of groceries each to take home to their loved ones. The pantry typically serves 100 families each month.
More than 35 volunteers took part in the distribution and put together food bags, carried the bags outside, and filled up car after car at a safe distance. Between March and June 2020, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin provided 321,803 pounds of food to Greater New Birth Church, a significant increase in what they usually order.
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin worked with Greater New Birth Church to provide resources and volunteer help for the distributions.
Feeding San Diego
San Diego, CA
Our corporate partner, Smart & Final, had a bulk food vendor who wanted to donate 11 pallets of meat and produce. The problem was that the meat came in 40 lb. bags and our warehouse couldnt accept it because it was too large of a pack size for any of our distributions to handle.
Also, another requirement with the donation was that we had t’o accept all of the donated products and could not pick and choose just those items that we could distribute.
One of our agency partners, Alpha Project, which provides services to people facing homelessness and serve over 4,000 people each day, had the capacity to take all of the donated meat and vegetables. After connecting the two organizations, Smart & Final delivered 11 pallets of meat and produce (totaling 18,485 lbs.) to Alpha Project within a few days.
“During this time of change and uncertainty, our primary focus is to make sure our clients are safe and getting the food they need. Alpha Project’s partnership with Feeding San Diego has brought a new light to fighting hunger. They have connected us to so many amazing resources and partners including: Costco, Albertsons, Bristol Farms, Smart and Final and many others.
A recent connection to Smart and Final brought tears to our eyes. When faced with a large donation obstacle that would allow us to feed hundreds of people, Alpha’s kitchen and maintenance crew along with Ruben’s team from the local Smart & Final dropped what they were doing and came to help us unload a donation totaling 18,485 lbs!
That type of teamwork and partnership is exactly what Alpha Project counts on in order to help so many adults and families in need. We couldn’t do this without the help and support of all of our amazing partners!
“Thank you Feeding San Diego and our local partners for everything you do!” Molly, Alpha Project Kitchen Manager.
Even though our warehouse couldn’t accept the donated items, we realized that some of our agency partners could put them to use. We immediately sent out an email about the food donation opportunity and had a response the next day.
Smart & Final and Alpha Project
Feeding Southwest Virginia
In the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak last March, Feeding Southwest Virginia experienced a food crisis unlike anything we had previously experienced in our nearly 40 years of operation.
In the initial crisis, we adapted our program model in order to reach clients where they were, all while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
With the creation of “pop-up” food distributions, truckloads of pre-packaged emergency food boxes arrived in centralized locations where the need was greatest. With safety a top priority, we had clients remain in their vehicles while staff and volunteers loaded the food boxes into the trunks of their cars.
The pop-ups were (and continue to be) a complete success, and to-date we have held 18 of these distributions throughout our service region.
We formed new partnerships and strengthened existing ones in order to reach those suffering from illness, the homebound elderly, and children. Reaching children was a particular challenge at the onset of the crisis, so we worked with multiple organizations in order to get meals to children who were no longer receiving the school meals they rely on daily.
Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano
Last April unemployment rates surged up to 14.5% in Contra Costa from 3.1% the previous February. Overnight, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano saw a 30% drop in volunteers and a 50% increase in attendance at its direct distributions.
To meet increased need and safely serve 270,000 people a month, Food Bank CCS started offering drive-through distributions in early April. Within a month of launching the program, Food Bank staff and volunteers loaded 770 vehicles with 5893 pounds of fresh produce and 1076 supplemental boxes at a distribution in San Pablo, demonstrating both the scale of need and how quickly our team was able to adapt.
It will take years - not months - to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, with food insecurity having risen 58% in Contra Costa County and 54% in Solano. But seeing how our team has been able to adapt to constantly changing requirements, innovate, and get food out into the community quickly and safely, has given us confidence we can continue this level of service for as long as needed.
At the same time, we know we cannot do this without the support of the community. However, with our volunteers giving enough hours to equal 51 full-time employees, and generous members of the community supporting our work financially, we will continue our fight against hunger no matter what challenges come our way.
It takes a collaborative effort, which is why we work closely with our 240 incredible partner agencies, local school districts, and government officials to ensure none of our neighbors go without food.
Food Bank of Eastern Michigan
While working on recovering from the Flint water crisis increased demands for water and food, COVID-19 sent a wave of disbelief as businesses were closed down to ensure the public’s safety. The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in record rates of unemployment and families in search of food who have never had to seek assistance before. As schools shut down, children were impacted because the reduced and free lunch program was no longer available to feed them.
The Food Bank quickly responded to this need by immediately changing their distribution model so families would still have the food they desperately needed. The Food Bank distributed 32 million pounds of food since mid-March, a 98 percent increase over the same time period last year.
Mobile pantries have doubled distributions with each serving up to 300 families with fresh produce, dairy and proteins. Teaming up with nearly 400 hunger relief partner agencies throughout the 22-county service area, the Food Bank continues to deliver food to communities with great need. Recovery will take years and the need for food, as well.
The Food Bank receives donated product from a variety of sources including major retail food donors such as Walmart, Aldi, Sam’s Club, Meijer and Kroger. Because of the greatly increased public demand, trucks are now returning to the Food Bank warehouse empty of the donated product desperately needed to help feed our families.
As a result, the Food Bank must continue to purchase and ship more food from greater distances not only to make up the difference, but also to meet the increased demand, thus increasing the cost per truck load significantly.
The Food Bank continues to listen, analyze and shift our distribution models to provide food for more families, children, and senior citizens. Working with local law enforcement, the National Guard, and community partners such as faith leaders, schools, healthcare facilities, soup kitchens and other partners we can evaluate how the emergency declaration is changing their needs and how we can fill the gaps.
Food Bank of South Jersey
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday Season has accounted for a HUGE percentage of the annual food donations given to the Food Bank of South Jersey.
As with so many other organizations, COVID-19 completely upended our models; in the past donation barrels were placed throughout our region, in offices, places of business, and other key points. Our drivers would collect the barrels, bring them back to our warehouse, where a team of volunteers would sort the food donations by type , then redistribute them to our partner agencies and pantries.For a multitude of reasons (work sites being closed, no volunteers coming to our facility, etc) this business model no longer worked.
Kristin deJesus, a staff member here at FBSJ, was determined to save this program, and somehow still get all this more-needed-than-ever food to the people who DO need it. She immediately began contacting all the previous barrel drop off sites as well as our network of 200 partner agencies, pantries, and soup kitchens, and arranged for all the barrels to instead be left at our partner sites.
She arranged for each agency to not only permit food donations to be dropped there, but to all with and sort the items themselves (careful tracking of all poundage is key to measuring success of our programs) then to directly distribute all the food collected at that agency's regularly scheduled distributions.
Furthermore, she used email blasts and a great communications team to announce the new placement of the Holiday Barrels throughout our region. In this way Kristin is managing to continue to get THOUSANDS of pounds of food to hungry residents of the South Jersey area!
The "aha" moment came when answering calls at the Front Desk and one of our loyal, generous regular donors called to say they supposed the Holiday Barrel Program was being curtailed this season, and I was able to happy inform them "no, not at all!"
Many others helped save this Program, including our wonderful partner agencies, our Client Relations Team, our Communications Team, and the thousands of local supporters of the Food Bank of South Jersey.
Foodbank of Delaware
The Food Bank of Delaware's response efforts over the past 8 months to this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis have increased by over 150%.
As a result of the crisis, many of our more than 600 Hunger Relief Partners were forced to shut down their operations for health and safety concerns of their staff, volunteers and clients during the pandemic. The Food Bank of Delaware continues to work with these organizations and other community partners to identify "cold spots" of underserved communities to deliver critical emergency food assistance through our Mobile Pop-up Pantry program.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Delaware partnered with over 500 community organizations throughout the state. Over the past 8 months, the Food Bank has added an additional 100 community partners assisting with us distributing more than 11 million pounds of food assistance. These new partners included (community clinics, insurance companies, hospitals, PAL centers, YMCA’s and Boys and Girls Clubs).
While the Food Bank of Delaware has been working to deliver emergency food assistance to those who have been impacted since March, we have been able to develop partnerships with an additional 100 nontraditional distribution partners as a result of the pandemic. These partners have offered alternative distribution points during these unprecedented times including within the medical sector (community clinics, insurance companies and hospitals).
Foster Adopt Connect INC
The clients (children & families) we normally serve are already a very vulnerable population of folks. Along came Covid 19 and these kiddos that have already been through so much trauma are now experiencing even more unsettlement and disruption, which makes it very difficult for kiddos to continue to heal and feel safe. Access to food and health items is vital and paramount to helping children in the child welfare system and the families who care for them.
Instead of shutting down due to Covid 19, we have extended our food pantry to delivery, curbside pickup, and appointment access. We have learned to be as creative and flexible with our resources and how to reach our clients in the midst of this even further some traumatizing pandemic.
Right as the pandemic began we quickly realized our members were going to be extra impacted by the uncertainty of the situation, and access to resources that are used for healing from trauma will be altered. We quickly learned that we had to find safe ways to go and serve them. And that if by delivering food boxes lightened the stress effect, we would and continue to serve, protect, and help our families grow stronger and better.
Harvesters Food Network has been vital in helping us provide these resources to our families and members.
God's Pantry Food Bank
On March 16, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order to close all restaurants and bars to in-person traffic. Four days later he recommended schools cease in-person instruction for at least a month.
Around the same time, grocery store, which typically donate large quantities of food each week, were experiencing shortages.
At the same time, many of our food rescue volunteers were over age 60 and were advised to stay home. We knew there was the opportunity to rescue more food, but we had to act fast.
“We went into high gear and started calling all of our food donors, telling them we would accept food if they were closing,” said Linda Golebiewski, Food Sourcer for God’s Pantry Food Bank. “We had every food rescue volunteer, staff members, agencies, everybody, out picking up food from restaurants, colleges, and schools. In six weeks we picked up about 60,000 pounds of food from small-scale donors.”
That included 12 new food donors; stores, restaurants, and hotels that hadn’t worked with us previously. Two key partners during this period became Blue Grass Airport and the Fayette County Public Schools. The airport called and shared a list of every food vendor in the facility; we ended up rescuing around 3,000 pounds of food from them in March and they have continued donate food ever since. The schools were delivering food by bus within Lexington.
At the end of each week, they shared leftover items with the Food Bank including more than 11,000 pounds of milk. Four members of the Food Bank’s programs and development teams stepped in to become nearly full time food rescuers to respond to the short-term burst of activity. As a result of the new sources of high-quality food, our partner agencies Bread of Life, Lighthouse Ministries, and The Nathaniel Mission increased the amount of food they served and the number of people they fed.
“Lord did we feed a lot of people!” said Linda. “It was really challenging, but we got new donors as a result of responding quickly.”
Multiple members of our staff, volunteers, food donors and three partner agencies.
Greater Baton Rouge Foodbank
Baton Rouge, LA
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has a commitment to providing fresh produce along with the shelf-stable items of food for a more balanced approach to our distributions to families, children and seniors. Acquiring fresh, local produce is difficult meaning that we often have to go greater distances to find it.
The Vince Ferachi Community Garden was opened to grow and to provide fresh produce, harvested by Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank volunteers, to those in need in our community.
"My dad would be very proud to see fresh produce from our 72-year old family business, that he and my mom nurtured for decades, reach more tables in our community," said Paul Ferachi, owner of Capitol City Produce. "I think he would be especially pleased to see our community come together in such a diverse collaboration."
The Vince Ferachi Community Garden was made possible by a collaboration between Capitol City Produce and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Greater Cleveland Food Bank
In March, as news of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic swept through our community and new safety guidelines emerged, it became clear that the Greater Cleveland Food Bank would not be able to host our monthly produce distributions as normal.
However, we knew our community was counting on us to provide critical food resources. We would have to very quickly develop a new distribution model limiting any direct contact to meet the rapidly growing demand for emergency food assistance that could best ensure the safety of our clients, volunteers and staff.
In a matter of days our team created a plan to turn our distribution into a non-contact, drive through model. Clients would drive their cars through the parking lot of the Food Bank where volunteers and staff would place boxes of food into the trunk of the car. This allowed us to safely provide clients with the nutritious food they needed.
Hours before our distribution even started we saw cars beginning to line up, and it wasn’t long before the lines stretched miles long. In our first distribution we served 1,200 families - more than any of our previous distributions had served.
After seeing the incredible need among families across our service area, we decided that we would host a second drive through distribution early the next week, and continued to serve another 1,500 families. There was no doubt that a monthly distribution would not be enough to provide the critical food resources that our community needed and we began hosting these critical distributions weekly.
Seven months later we are still hosting weekly distributions and are currently serving an average of nearly 2,900 families per week.
After the first two distributions, we knew we were going to need more space to accommodate the growing number of clients. We partnered with the City of Cleveland who generously allowed us to use their Municipal Parking Lot (the “Muni Lot”). This Lot would regularly be used to host the tens of thousands of fans attending Cleveland Browns football games, but we have now transformed it into a weekly community distribution center.
Thanks to a request made by the Ohio Association of Food Banks, our distribution also aided by the National Guard and Ohio Military Reserves. They have been with us since late March, and at one point we had close to 80 members of the Guard helping us sort through food, assemble food boxes, and distribute product to clients. We are incredibly grateful for their helping hands which continue to ensure that our distributions run smoothly.
H.O.P.E. Food Pantry
Due to COVID-19 many parents lost their jobs and was having trouble having enough food for their families.
H.O.P.E food pantry added an additional day each month to provide families and senior citizens with food boxes. This allowed us to meet the substantially increased need that came as a result of COVID-19.
When Topeka was put on quarantine and many jobs was lost, causing many people to lose income or have little to no income, we realized that it was imperative that we needed to ramp up our program in order to meet an even greater level of need.
The pantry has a total of 8-10 volunteers, this includes 2 teenagers.
Holden Food Pantry
Because of the danger of contagion as a result of COVID-19, our pantry had to shift to a curbside method of getting patients into customers’ hands. We also have had to face steep spikes in need, in addition to a volunteer shortage.
We are still very short handed, and we are still seeing a radical increase in need for food assistance. With winter coming, it is important that we increase our cash flow and sources of food so that we can prepare for even more families in need.
Harvesters has been working with us, but, unfortunately, their shopping lists are getting smaller and more expensive every day.
Hope City KC
Kansas City, MO
Due to Covid 19 crisis it changed the way we normally operate.We are a inner city ministry that provides a community center, soup kitchen, food pantry, prayer room, drug rehab. We had to close since Covid to public.
We had 30 people stay in the rehab and staff. We have been able to serve the community lunches out the door and a drive up and walk up food pantry.
The amount of food that poured into our facility and the amount of people we served.
Harvesters food bank, Cerner, Reiger restaurant
How to keep our volunteers and clients safe while continuing to provide food to those in need. To not let clients come into the building while allowing the client to have choices in what they receive.
We are in the basement of a church; no windows were available to work out of. We purchased a TracFone. Clients stay in their cars and call in to our TracFone.
We believe in letting the clients have some choice in what food they get to prevent waste. The volunteer working outside is notified of what programs the client is eligible for and provides the client the forms for them to make their choices.
The forms come in, the food is packed and taken up the ramp to the client while maintaining social distancing and keeping everyone safe.
When our planned work smoothly and we have not had to be closed.
The Board and all the great volunteers who stepped up to help out!
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Kansas City, KS
With the onset of Covid-19 and the start of stay-at-home orders the problem was figuring out how to serve people in the inner city, keep them and our staff safe and continue to get them the food they needed. We knew that our clients would be some of the hardest hit during this time.
The solution was to re-organize both the inside and outside of our building in order to provide a drive through service for our clients. Staff work indoors packing boxes for small, medium and large families while staff outdoors talk to clients and load vehicles. Clients never need to leave their car. The solution allowed us to go from serving 60-70 clients a week to serving 120 clients a week. And new families continue to come.
With the onset of Covid-19 the church building that houses our food pantry has been empty due to older church members and an at-risk population. So we embarked on an idea to create a nonprofit organization that could house the food pantry, take over the building and provide space for the small, aging congregation while continuing to develop outreach strategies to help support the neighborhood and community. We have formed our Board, taken over financial responsibility for the building and are working on our incorporation with the state.
Harvesters? supply of free and reduced food has allowed us to continue to increase the number of families we feed weekly. We couldn?t have done it without them or the many people and organizations who have donated to them during this time. We also have been given free reign of space inside the church building where we house the food pantry. Their generosity and support continue to help us adapt during this time.
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
Access to fresh produce was already a challenge for communities at risk of hunger, but the issue was exasperated by COVID-19. The community garden beds at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a Feeding America partner serving central North Carolina, were at maximum capacity as the pandemic hit.
There was a long waitlist for individuals – including many families and seniors – who wanted to grow their own food, but lacked the knowledge and supplies and this wait list would only get longer. Worse still, many programs were on hold with the state’s stay-at-home order.
Our ability to deliver the critical Garden Education programming that empowers individuals to grow their own food was thwarted.
The COVID-19 crisis inspired a critical program launch: Gardens for Everyone. This new program builds raised-bed garden boxes in backyards and community spaces for anyone interested in growing their own food.
Gardens for Everyone provides food insecure community members with a safe and sustainable way to access affordable, nutritious food right outside their door. Volunteers and staff build the raised bed garden boxes, but the program does not stop there. Participants in the Gardens for Everyone program receive on-going mentorship from Food Shuttle staff, members of the local garden clubs, and access to the newly digitalized “Seed to Supper” garden-to-fork educational course.
They also receive access to an online support community, providing added input on best practices and sustainable methods in the garden. With a minimal cost of just $25 to participate, the demand for garden boxes is high. In just the first three weeks we have completed 5 box builds and scheduled out ten more, with a goal to build 50 by June 2021.
Our "aha" moment happened when this program first went live. We saw a flood of applications showing us there is a great need for a program like this. People are hungry for opportunities to grow their own food, learn gardening skills, and support their ability to provide nutritious food for themselves and their families.
This collaborative program is led by Inter-Faith Food Shuttle staff alongside an AmeriCorps Service Member. Members of local gardening clubs serve as mentors for participants and community volunteers give their time to build the gardening beds. Gardens for Everyone is also building garden boxes in partnership with organizations serving low- to moderate- income communities.
One of the first garden boxes was built in a parking lot of a local motel. In partnership with nonprofit, Hotel to Home, eight otherwise homeless residents can learn gardening skills and enjoy fresh produce, while they wait to find a permanent living arrangement.
Jesus El Buen Pastor Lutheran Church
Kansas City, MO
Our outreach ministry that provided a meal and social interaction as well as groceries came to a halt with the need for social distancing.
We stopped the meal and changed our distribution method, allowing four clients at a time to be masked and gloved and enter to receive prepacked groceries that include vegetables canned goods, fruit, meat, and bread, pasta items. Working with Harvesters Food Bank and supported by donations we provide each of our average 75 families per Thursday with enough groceries to feed a family of four for a week.
We don't give up. We find a way to compensate. Although we had to close down for three weeks for the safety of our volunteer staff and customers when staff members contact Covid 19, we are back in business with strict but loving conditions of masks gloves and socail distancing. Our motto is "We serve."
Pastor F E Eberhart oversees the program and does the ordering and acquiring of food items. Blanca Andre heads our volunteer staff. Maria Pina, Lupita Marquez, Maria Bilboa, Esmeralda Tronco, Margarita Lopez, Maricela Rodriguez, Pati Rodriguez, Alicia Saenz, Ingrid Cordon, all volunteer two days each week in preparation, while Elena and Luzma Alvarez join us on Thursdays to assist with preparation and distribution. In some cases of necessity we pack cars and deliver or distribute in our local neighborhoods.
Johnson County Christmas Bureau
Shawnee Mission, KS
Low-income Johnson County neighbors do not have enough financial resources to purchase necessities.
We are responding by providing food and other necessities. We will have a distribution from Dec 4th through Dec 13th inclusive at which over 12,000 Johnson County, Kansas neighbors will receive enough food for the entire household to have fully balanced meals for 3 days.
Obtaining food from food banks for no administrative fee and asking church groups to put together boxes of food.
Over 150 volunteers. Over 20 local churches. The Harvesters food bank.
Kingsway Ministry Lighthouse
Kansas City, MO
We have seen an increase in food, household, and utility assistance need for the working poor in the community.
Our solution is not to grow weary in doing good. We plan to continue to seek and serve every family that we can. We will continue to look for donations and partners to share in the work of our 20 pantry mission.
Our aha moments every time we restore hope and dignity to the families we serve.
We partner with Harvester, Community Action agency, and we receive donation from anyone willing to help.
Kansas City, MO
We are in mid-town Kansas City – in one of the zip codes with the greatest number of COVID cases. Our folks are food-insecure and many of them count on a good meal from LMKC each weekend to help alleviate some of the cost of their weekly food budget. We also have a Boutique that provides clothing, toiletries and items that can't be purchased with food stamps to anyone in need.
How can we be safe and keep meeting needs?
Although we had to close early on, we turned our dining room into a take-out station when we reopened in June. We had all guests picking up meals outside. We had seats six feet apart where guests could sit and eat if they didn’t want to take their meal to-go.
We also have a social worker on-site who is available to meet in a socially distant setting to help provide for other needs while guest are on-site.
Right now, we are providing about 100 guests each Saturday with meals. Pre-pandemic we were serving more than that. As the weather has turned colder, we now have guests enter the church’s sanctuary and sit in a spot designated with a star decal so we can ensure everyone is spaced 6 feet away. Here they can fill out a form for items they may need for our Boutique which provides clothing, toiletries, household goods and supplies. They wait for a volunteer to fill their order and then proceed to the dining room. Everyone passes only one-way and they exit the sanctuary, enter the dining room to get a meal.
24 years ago, a church was discussing closing their doors because with so little happening in the downtown area, other than the homeless population growing they weren't sure the church was viable. Instead of closing, they brought food and opened their doors to anyone who was hungry.
Within a month of their aha moment, this little church realized they needed help to continue serving the hungry. They called on nearby churches first and then community groups also began to help out.
Knowing how the nonprofit started has kept us motivated.
From inception 24 years ago, this was a community-based organization and still is today. Today we have churches of all denominations, community groups, corporate volunteers and families.
Mid-South Food Bank, in Memphis, TN, serves a 31-county area in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Outside of Memphis, the area is largely rural. Seniors and others in rural areas lacking transportation or with health or mobility issues were unable to get to Mid-South Food Bank's Mobile Pantry food distributions.
We needed a partnership to reach these homebound residents with nutritious food.
Local Police and Sheriff’s departments are reaching seniors and families with food boxes provided by Mid-South Food Bank. Here's the story of how it's being done in Tunica County, Mississippi, where food insecurity rates are among the highest in the nation.
In Tunica County, Miss., efforts by the Sheriff’s department to help seniors and other residents struggling with food insecurity have been ramped up because of COVID-19's arresting consequences. Every week officers and other department employees are delivering about 25 boxes of nutritious food from Mid-South Food Bank to residents at their homes.
"I can’t tell you how much this means. I’m really thankful for this,” said Patricia Savely, when she was visited by Tunica County Sheriff K. C. Hamp and Assistant Chief Deputy Jammie Lewis with a box containing non-perishable food plus an assortment of apples oranges, potatoes and strawberries. Savely, 55, lives in a cluster of homes not far from Tunica Cutoff Lake. She suffers from multiple health issues.
Mid-South Food Bank contacted police and sheriff's departments as well as mayors and other officials in all the counties we serve and 90% of them agreed to help immediately. They know their communities so they knew who needed the help and did not hesitate to work with us to get food to people who need it.
Mid-South Food Bank and local law enforcement in 25 counties in our Mid-South service area.
Migrant Project (MFAF)
Kansas City, MO
How to safely serve, in a pandemic, approximately 200 arriving migrant farmworkers and families?
Lafayette County is an agriculture-based county, in north central Missouri. July through early November is harvest season for peaches and apples. Farmworkers were “essential workers” in the pandemic orders; and also, Migrant Farmworkers Assistance, is an “essential organization,” because of the services we provide to essential workers.
How to provide food, hygiene and sanitizing items, masks and other services safely for the workers and families we’re serving, our MFAF staff and volunteers? The labor camps are crowded housing units; many workers don’t have vehicles, ride crowded into vans and buses and have limited time and long distances for shopping because of long days and weeks picking and packing perishable food for others. Farmworkers are at high risk for health issues.
MFAF organized a “drive-thru Monday night, 5-7pm” program to provide food, hygiene, soap, hygiene supplies, masks, clothing, backpacks and school supplies, for workers with vehicles.
Workers with masks drove through our large parking lot, stopped at several tables where staff and volunteers put bagged items into trunks, back seats and truck beds. A local clinic had a table with blood pressure, blood sugar and COVID testing available, through the car window, all for free. Many workers were able to pick up supplies for others in their labor camp who did not have vehicles to come as well as receiving health screenings and tests.
On bi-weekly Wednesday and Thursday evenings, MFAF staff loaded our vehicles with the same food and supplies items to visit labor camps where none of the workers had cars. With masks and distancing, we provided services quickly and at each camp had the same health screenings and COVID testing available. Many workers took advantage of the COVID testing. Thankfully, none of the workers were positive and our MFAF staff and volunteers were safe and healthy.
We did it! For 13 full weeks of the migrant farmworkers and families in the labor camps, we were able to safely provide food and other supplies safely – safe for the workers and families and safe for our staff and volunteers.
There were no positive COVID results and, though very differently than in our past 36 years of operation, services were provided to farmworkers who are essential to the food chain for everyone. Our MFAF services continue for year-round workers and families at the orchards and we have a process now that we know will be successful as they work in the trees to be ready for the 2021 harvest season.
90% of the food we distribute comes from Harvesters, The Community Food Network. Other partners are: Live Well Community Health Center, Health Forward Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and volunteers and donors.
Kansas City, MO
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Macedonia staff were meeting every day to keep up with the demands of the church. Someone posted on Facebook that our pantry day was on Thursday, instead of Wednesday our normal day, and we were flooded with calls Thursday morning asking about our pantry hours and qualifications.
So, after our staff meeting concluded, we were going back to our offices discussing what we wanted to eat for lunch. Our office manager said she would take our orders, and she left out of the administrative doors, to the back-parking lot where she was parked. That is when she noticed on the east end of the parking lot, a long line of people waiting to get into the church for the pantry.
She came back inside and informed us of the situation and asked our pastor what we should do. He in turn asked her what she wanted to do since she runs our pantry and she said, "Serve the people!" and that is what we did.
It was all hands-on deck! Our pastor and six staff members rallied to pack meats, can goods, healthy snacks, and toiletries in bags and boxes to serve the people in line. We made flyers to pass out informing them of our actual pantry day and hours. We also informed them that we give out more food on our pantry day, but since it was the day after, we were giving the leftover food/toiletries from the day before.
Everyone was so grateful to have their needs met and a good time was had by all. We served 174 families that day. We realized then that we should always have pantry items at the ready in case someone contacts us or comes to us on a non-pantry day needing assistance. Ever since that day, we have always been ready to serve someone in need on any day of the week.
New City Church
We were looking to partner with one of our local schools in an effort to help fulfill one of the needs they might have. As we approached Merriam Park elementary we found one of their biggest needs was food for a large majority of their students and families. This became an even more important need in light of COVID-19, as many students and families become more in need of food assistance.
We then partnered with Harvesters Food Bank and have set up a mobile food pantry in the parking lot of the school once a month. In doing so we have served over 11K Families or households since we started the project a year and a half ago. Multiple families from the school have seen reduction in food costs and an opportunity to have food for their family. This has been an important service as a result of increased need related to COVID-19.
Our Aha moment came about in a unique way of having a friend who had worked with Harvesters as well. When contacting Harvesters we found that their were very few food pantries or mobile food pantries in our county. Therefore, hearing about the need and seeing few people stepping into that in the community we took the opportunity to do so.
Our church heads up the majority of our efforts, however we also have had partners from the school and the neighborhood join us to sort, distribute, and work our food pantries!
Northern Illinois Foodbank
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Northern Illinois Food Bank knew we would need all hands on deck to help process and distribute food to people who were impacted by this crisis and now facing food insecurity. To prioritize volunteer and staff safety, the Food Bank needed to create new, safe, and socially distant procedures to be able to keep up with the increasing demand for food.
The Food Bank team moved quickly to re-organize existing volunteer spaces to provide more space for social distancing, instituted temperature checks, and created a new health policy for all Food Bank visitors. By providing more PPE like masks and gloves, the Food Bank was able to make sure volunteers were well prepared to serve our neighbors in need.
So many people reached out to the Food Bank asking how they could help without being on-site (due to health & safety concerns). Our supporters knew that we were accepting donations of masks to protect our staff and volunteers who were sorting food or distributing groceries directly to neighbors. Thanks to our community of helpers, the Food Bank had readily available PPE for all volunteers, and could create a safe opportunity for people to give back.
The Food Bank received support from a wide variety of people and places, like crafts-loving folks who needed to stay home, or past volunteers who wanted to lend a helping hand during a difficult time. The longstanding support of our community partners meant that Northern Illinois Food Bank was prepared to tackle the challenges of the pandemic and provide food to more people than ever.
Phoenix Family Housing
Kansas City, MO
For seniors living in low-income housing communities in Kansas City, social distancing exacerbated existing food inequalities. With community centers and kitchens closed, many couldn't afford to stock up on food extensively or no longer had access to transportation assistance to go to and from grocery stores. Either way, many were just too afraid to leave their homes or even to ask for help. As a result, the number of seniors requiring food assistance skyrocketed 176% from the year before.
Phoenix Family quickly scaled up its number of mobile pantry distributions to seniors in need, delivering fresh groceries to each apartment with a “knock and drop” method, including weekly prepared meals and USDA food boxes from the Harvesters Community Food Network.
With group and communal activities suspended for our seniors, delivering food boxes directly to their apartment door allows for a quick, friendly, “Hello, how are you?” and “Is there anything I can do to help?” Social interactions such as these will be crucial to help our residents maintain their mental health and well-being as we enter into the fall and winter months.
Harvesters Community Food Network
Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church
Kansas City, MO
Our church pantry was helping maybe 50 famlies weekly. When the pandemic hit the numbers tripled.
With the help of Havesters, church members and coupons, we were able to service everyone in need.
We saw that it was important to have enough food to help everyone in need because we feel called by God to take care of our brothers and sisters in the community.
Harvesters, church members and local grocery stores.
Pomona Food Pantry
In January 2020, we helped 31 families with food. February of 2020, only 18 families. The first week of March there was no one who came for help, but by the end of the month, we had 27 families.
We knew in March, now that the pandemic had hit, things were shut down, and people were off work, that our numbers of families would increase each month - and it has.
Each month since March, we have had increases in the number of families that have come through the pantry to get help with food. You can see that reflected in our numbers now. 183 families were served in October of 2020, those 183 families include 317 adults, 226 children and 68 senior adults. Those 183 families consist of 611 individual people.
Knowing that our numbers would increase dramatically, we needed to find some way to come up with a plan to be able to feed more families, with the limited budget that we have. That’s where Harvesters Foodbank came in.
We contacted Harvesters in March as the pandemic hit to see what it would take to become part of the food pantries that are able to get food through them at discounted prices. Our first delivery from Harvesters was on June 25th and the number of families have continued to increase every month since.
By connecting the Pomona Food Pantry with Harvesters. We have been able to purchase food at discounted prices, so that we can pass on these newly acquired food items to the people that come to the Pomona Food Pantry.
The “aha” moment came when I saw the opportunity to share our Good News with others. We are so blessed by all of the people who donate to Harvesters and enable us to purchase food at discounted prices. The second “aha” moment came when I saw the opportunity of this great grant opportunity for $5,000 that is available to organizations that are working to "solve the food shortage puzzle" in response to COVID-19. We are in hopes that we might be able to secure this grant to continue to provide quality food products to those in need.
We are not only connected with Harvesters, we have several volunteers each week that come out to make sure that people are served in a timely and friendly manner. Without those wonderful volunteers, we could never get the food that the pantry has to the people who need it. We are so excited to be able to serve our community in this way.
Our community is a virtual food desert. While this was a large problem prior to COVID-19, this year has only served to make the need for food assistance even greater in our community.
We partnered with Harvesters and started a food pantry. This ensured that we were prepared to meet greater levels of need as a result of COVID-19.
Our neighbors are living paycheck to paycheck and need food.
Church leaders and congregation donors and volunteers.
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, OK
During the first week of July, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission held four high-volme processing events to accommodate the increasing number of people filing for unemployment. The event was a unique opportunity for the Regional Food Bank to connect Oklahomans with resources and food during uncertain times.
The Regional Food Bank worked with OESC to be on site to provide information about SNAP enrollment and access to partner agencies in central and western Oklahoma. The Regional Food Bank then partnered with nearby Rose State College to provide a two-day drive-through food distribution for Oklahomans filing for claims at the event.
Over the course of two-days, the Regional Food Bank served a total of 779 households representing 2,739 individuals. Each household received about 35 pounds of food, including frozen chicken, fresh bread and shelf-stable items.
The event made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic had hit Oklahomans hard. Residents hoping to file unemployment claims would arrive in the early morning at the event center hours before the doors were opened. Each morning, the line to enter the event stretched for hundreds of feet outside the center.
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and Rose State College.
River Bend Foodbank
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the Quad Cities and surrounding areas in mid-2020, the need for food in River Bend Foodbank’s service area rose over 50%. More people who had never needed help with food before now struggled to feed their families, and the Foodbank needed to increase our food supply for distribution to meet this elevated need.
The rapid growth in food insecurity and food supply meant the Foodbank needed to safely store and handle an exponentially greater amount of food to meet community’s needs. River Bend Foodbank needed more refrigeration and freezer space to safely store, handle, and supply community members in need with fresh, healthy produce, proteins, and dairy products.
As a short-term solution, the Foodbank acquired several refrigeration trucks, housed outside the loading docks of the warehouse. However, knowing increased food needs are projected to last well into the future required a more permanent solution for secure, additional freezer and cooler space. The Foodbank doubled its dry storage in 2019; doubling frozen and refrigerated storage to nearly 3,800 square feet of space rebalances the total food storage capacity and allows the Foodbank to take full advantage of abundantly available fresh produce.
River Bend Foodbank immediately sought out community partners in granting organizations and foundations in our service area. Several local foundations stepped up quickly and funded requests, and the Foodbank broke ground in mid-October to take a section of current warehouse space and transform it into walk-in coolers and freezers.
In the short-term, this new space will eliminate the need for expensive refrigeration trucks and allow the Foodbank to more safely and securely store fresh, perishable foods. In the long-term, when it is safe to have more daily visitors inside the warehouse, the additional cooler and freezer areas will give partner organizations an accessible way to “shop” for their guests and pick out the fresh foods they know they can distribute in their communities.
The capacity at which the Foodbank is operating during the current fiscal year is the level that will effectively shrink the Meal Gap and eliminate hunger in the eastern Iowa and western Illinois service area.
If the Foodbank can maintain this increased level of support over the long-term, we will truly end hunger in our community. With increased food storage space, the River Bend Foodbank and its 300 partner organizations will have the ability to serve every single person facing food insecurity well into the future.
Santa Fe Waystation, St. Marks UMC
Overland Park, KS
Santa Fe Waystation is a food pantry that distributed food indoors using a client-choice model. Often times, there were more than 50 people in close proximity to each other while waiting to shop. With confirmed Covid-19 cases in Johnson County, KS and the Kansas City Metro and the subsequent state-wide shutdown, it was clear that the pantry could not continue to operate in the same manner. How were we going to get food to the food insecure in our community.
In March 2020, the pantry modified their food distribution to a drive-thru pantry model. By moving outdoors, we reduced the number of people who would normally be within close proximity of each other in the usual indoor distribution. This has been a workable solution that allows for continuity of operations while considering the health and safety of our pantry guests (clients) and the volunteers who are critical to the success of the pantry.
The pantry has seen a 35% increase in the number of households served each week. The drive-thru model has allowed for a quick and efficient way to distribute food and meet the increased need.
Second Harvest Foodbank of Clark, Champaign & Logan Counties
From March 2020 to present, Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties saw an unprecedented increase in the need for the distribution of nutritious food to area residents. This was initially due to the sudden closure of Kroger, the last grocery store on the south side of Springfield, Ohio, leaving a food desert in the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic soon followed and forced the closure of local schools and many businesses. A combination of community members without access to transportation, unemployment rates skyrocketing and having children at home who typically rely on school lunches, found residents searching for resources.
Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) recognized the strain closures placed on families and sprang into action to expand their services to address community needs. SHFB created drive thru distributions, home deliveries for those who couldn’t get out or lacked transportation, and provided food to distribution partners throughout Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties.
SHFB had drivers go out daily Monday through Friday and rescue food from stores in the three-county service area. They also went to Aldi and the Gordon’s Food Service distribution centers and any items that they can’t necessarily sell because they have a small dent, or one item in the package is dented, they were able to get it and distribute it to people who need food.
SHFB served nearly a year’s worth of customers from January through May alone as nearly 12,000 households representing nearly 35,000 people sought SHFB’s services either directly or through one of its partners. That was an increase of 66 percent over the same period a year ago, and nearly 20,000 of the people served, had never used the food bank before, an increase of 132 percent.
Additionally, with the help of local schools and community organizations, Second Harvest provided children from ages 1 to 18 with free healthy meals throughout the summer. Each child received five breakfast and five lunch meals per week. In total, the facility served over 20,000 meals to children per week.
The threat of COVID-19 changed many aspects of society, but not the mission of the food bank. The main goal is to make sure that no one’s going hungry, and SHFB identified different avenues and resources to reach people in various ways.
Notably, United Way of Logan County was able to pass along donations to assist SHFB, and they could in turn, pivot and respond to the community’s food insecurity. Even the Ohio National Guard troops partnered with SFHB to assist in a record-breaking drive thru food distribution.
Approximately 65 partner distribution agencies including pantries, soup kitchens, feeding sites and other nonprofits.
Second Harvest Foodbank of Northwest North Carolina
The coming of COVID-19 and subsequent shuttering of businesses in the face of shelter-in-place orders continues to have a tremendous impact in the lives of untold numbers of many families and, in particular, families whose livelihoods are connected with the food service and hospitality industries.
Within weeks of the start of the pandemic, out of work service workers and countless others began seeking help from Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC and our network of partner food assistance programs.
This unemployment situation could have well extended to our own team members, who were, at that time engaged in our Providence enterprises – a culinary training program and related non-profit enterprises, including a full-service catering operation and non-profit fine dining restaurant.
With the hospitality industry taking a beating in the face of COVD-19, Providence enterprises, headed by Jeff Bacon, Executive Director and VP of Providence, worked with his team to step up in service in three crucial ways:
- The HEARD Collaborative Café rapid took shape, bringing together chefs, restaurant owners, Triad city officials, food suppliers, nonprofit organizations, businesses faring better, and individuals from small businesses that were faring better to generous individuals, from across the Piedmont Triad to provide daily, fresh and chef-made meals for service workers and their families – up to 400 meals a day plus produce boxes and other groceries from our Food Bank like Second Harvest.
- Second Harvest’s Providence team also quickly ramped up the numbers of tray-packed meals it was preparing each day to ensure at risk children and seniors had the nutrition they needed. This past summer, Providence was preparing as many as 40,000 meals a week. Partners included City of Winston-Salem Recreation Centers, local faith communities, YMCAs, and others.
- Providence team members also provided support for Second Harvest Food Bank’s essential food distribution programs, taking on the work of inspecting, sorting, and repacking food donations until volunteers could safely return to the Second Harvest Volunteer Center.
Chef Bacon was on the phone with a fellow chef and restaurant owner. They were talking about all the food in his coolers and freezers in restaurants everywhere and their concerns over the well-being and food security of their employees. The idea for HEARD COLLABORATIVE CAFÉ was came alive and began the wheels turning on several initiatives that ultimately allowed our own Providence Team to stay employed while also lending a hand to the critical emergency response efforts.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank
Grand Rapids, MN
Being a food bank our job is to distribute food to thousands of individuals throughout north central Minnesota. Receiving food has never been an issue in the 26 years of doing business but in the midst of a pandemic and all of its uncertainty we found ourselves in a situation that our vendors were running low on product and could not meet our needs.
Where were we going to get the food needed to supply the agencies we serve along with the many mobile pantries we had been running on a local Native American Reservation?
A solution soon presented itself when a long-time local donor of wild rice called to mention that he was looking to get a donation picked up. Due to restaurant closures as a result of COVID-19, he was overstocked on some wild rice.
Through further conversation, we soon discovered a partnership, to purchase wild rice, that would not only help us receive valuable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food but would help us give back to a generous donor and their employees in the process.
“The best feeling is when we have the opportunity to give back to those that have given to us.” Susan Estee, Executive Director, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank
Mille Lacs Wild Rice Inc.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend
COVID-19 broke the food bank model. Typically, about 85% of food distribution to clients is accomplished through agency partners like food pantries and soup kitchens. In March 2020, COVID-19 caused the closure of most businesses and small nonprofits, leaving the food bank without a safe, dependable way to meet increased need for food intervention.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend adapted to COVID-19 safety guidelines by increasing the size and frequency of direct (food bank to client) distributions. Low-touch mobile distributions are work-intensive and costly. Food must be pre-kitted within the warehouse, and volunteers (many of whom were not working due to the pandemic) must help distribute food to clients at a safe distance.
Second Harvest is familiar with emergency situations pertaining to natural disasters and strong weather, but the safety guidelines for a pandemic changed everything. Our Aha! Moment came when we accepted the limitations forced upon us by the coronavirus and set off looking for new solutions to food insecurity and hunger.
The solution resulted from financial support from Feeding America, among others, approval from local government and law enforcement, and great partners willing to adapt in a public health crisis.
The National Guard helped Second Harvest pack boxes for distribution and give food to people in need.
Seed of Faith International
Many families in our community are going through difficult economic and personal challenges because to the COVID pandemic. As a result, food security is a primary concern for our city.
To solve this problem, we formed partnerships with other local organizations to providing grocery pick up for families on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays in north and central Raytown
When we began to receive a large number of people in need of food help, we knew that it was even more important that we act quickly to acquire and distribute even more food to families in need.
Raytown River Church Family, River’s Edge Fellowship, Seed of Faith International and others have joined forces as Raytown United Food Ministry
Shawnee Mission Unitarian
Neighbors in our relatively affluent community suddenly found themselves out of work and/or with reduced incomes when COVID-19 hit. Many of these folks had never sought out food assistance before.
They did not know how to manage the various systems out there, and they felt shame in even needing to reach out for help. Often, these were people who had been donating food to others through their offices, churches, schools and civic organizations before their lives changed so drastically.
Our church was in the beginning stages of opening a food pantry when the pandemic hit. Our vision for a grocery-store type pantry had to be put on hold while we focused on obtaining food and distributing it to those in need.
We quickly ramped up to a drive-through pantry bag distribution system, which allowed for safe social distancing and was logistically easier to start up. Despite needing to change the initial way we had planned to distribute food, we were still able to stay focused on two underlying principles that have been with us since the beginning:
- Focus on the healthiest food possible. We were able to source fresh produce from several sources immediately, including our area's food bank (Harvesters - The Community Food Network), and our on-site garden that had been significantly expanded in the spring specifically to serve the food pantry.
- Respect for the inherent worth and dignity of our guests. Ours is a "no questions asked" pantry.
If you are in line for food, you will receive food. Eliminating any kind of arduous application process, including any requirement of specific identifying materials, makes asking for food at our pantry simple, ease and free of embarrassment or concerns about qualifying.
Fortunately, while so much volunteer work was going on to distribute food quickly and efficiently, we were also able to continue work on creating our grocery-story type pantry. We are excited to begin offering that to guests the first week of November, using CDC guidelines to help our guests and volunteers safe. We will still offer a drive-up option for those who prefer it, but the expanded client choice option will let guests shop the shelves and choose items that vest fir their families' needs.
Our "aha" moment(s) have been the overwhelming support we have received from the church community - in volunteerism, donations, both financial and in products, and in getting the work out about out pantry. Another "aha" moment is the feedback we get from the shoppers.
Church members who have donated time and treasure, including many with specific skills to convert former classroom into a storage space for the pantry and another classroom for the actual walk-in pantry.
We had a church member with a connection to the restaurant industry that was able to get us restaurant grade refrigerator and freezers. We had church members donated two additional freezers that were needed.
An Eagle Scout project expanded the number of beds in our community garden, and volunteers worked the garden plots so we could have the advantage of fresh produce for the pantry. Harvesters was integral in helping us with the pantry start-up and providing food.
Shepherd's Food Pantry
Providing food for anyone that is in need every month and coming up with extra food during the Covid-19 Pandemic for three counties in our area.
Our church has been a food pantry agency with Harvesters for at least ten years. Up until April, 2018, when our church was destroyed by a fire, we provided food to the Tri-County area from our church building in Waverly, MO.
After the fire, the city provided us with a building, free of charge, where we could run our pantry out of three Saturdays of every month. Due to delays by our insurance company, we weren't able to get our church rebuilt until 2020 – after Covid hit.
We continue to operate our food pantry out of the city-owned building. We are in the process of constructing a building on church property for the purpose of providing the food pantry out of that building. We serve almost 250 families each month. It would be a great blessing if we were able to win this grant. Our funds come from donations only so this extra funding would be so helpful.
Because we have been operating out of the other building since the fire, we have been boxing the food for each client and putting in their car. The clients stay in their cars. When Covid came, the only thing we had to change was to take the required safety measures in order to keep our workers and clients safe. This process has been working well.
As stated previously, we get our food from Harvesters in Kansas City, Missouri. They deliver to us twice a month. Church members and volunteers from the community help with the food pantry each week we are open.
Shepherd's Staff Food Pantry
Households faced with food insecurities increased during the pandemic. Not only did the face limited finances, now the food supply was limited and pricing increasing.
As a food pantry, we had been dreaming of ways to help these households beyond supplemental food.
We were granted funds that allowed us to purchase items to create kits for our clients. The first kit contained personal hygiene items (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and deodorant).
The next client kit was a variety of 5 cooking spices. We are working on 3 more kits - one will be condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing), a baking kit (flour, sugar, baking soda, vanilla and chocolate chips).
The last kit and the most difficult one to find the products for will be a cleaning kit including a disinfectant, toilet cleaner, toilet brush and general cleaner.
A healthy household requires adequate food resources which we were able to provide. The provision of these kits add more relief to their monthly budget while also being a bonus item to lift their spirits as well. Our clients have expressed their appreciation for all we do for them.
Sisters in Christ
Kansas City, MO
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri Department of Social Services reported that children around the Sisters In Christ administrative building in Raytown, Missouri are relying on care at home every day and are concerned that families are not getting the resources needed to stay healthy. However, many of the families either did not receive the economic impact payment or did not qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Sisters In Christ, a non-profit transitional living provider for women, and Coordinator of the Jackson County, Missouri COMBAT Raytown STRIVIN (Team KC) Safe Zone Hub quickly adjusted to the local safety measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We shifted meetings with the Raytown community schools, churches, and agencies to the virtual process and addressed this critical need of providing families with supplemental nutrition assistance.
In June of 2020, a partnership with Raytown STRIVIN? (Team KC) Safe Zone Hub and C&C Produce (Farmers-to-Families Food Box Distribution) was formed. Every Wednesday in the months of June, July, and August 2020, with the help of volunteers, a food distribution drive-thru provided free boxes of fruits and vegetables to 609 families. In addition to Wednesdays, on Thursdays, free boxes of dairy and produce were provided to 60 families.
In August of 2020, a collaborated partnership was formed with Harvesters, the Raytown School District, and Raytown STRIVIN (Team KC) Safe Zone Hub to create the Caring for Raytown Community Drive-Thru Food Distribution. On the last Saturday of August, September, and October 2020, with the help of a host of volunteers, the Caring for Raytown Community Drive-Thru Food Distribution provided food items to 2,776 families.
This collaboration also attracted support from social service agencies, city and state officials, churches, and a host of community residents. As a result of the partnerships formed between Raytown STRIVIN (Team KC) Safe Zone, C&C Produce, Harvesters, and the Raytown School District, a display of care and concern was seen by the Raytown and neighboring communities.
Our “aha” moment came when we shifted to partnering with the community and the level of service and hope we offered. Week after week and on each of the monthly Saturdays, we would see cars lined up for miles, waiting to be served. A rainstorm came through on one of the food distribution days, but the volunteers continued to serve without complaint. Everyone pulled together until the event was completed. It was a blessing to support people with a basic need and not dehumanize them in the process.
Carolyn Whitney, Sisters In Christ Executive Director, heart was warmed, as she came in contact with different individuals in the community and heard testimonies of those who received food and how much it was needed. We then understood that we may not hear all of the personal stories of those impacted by this unprecedented time. Nevertheless, it became noticeably clear, how important it is to continue offering this need to the Raytown families, children, and seniors.
Jackson County COMBAT; C&C Produce; Harvesters; Raytown Quality Schools; Happy Bottoms
South Plains Food Bank
One of the biggest concerns facing SPFB was how to get food to families with children who were no longer getting breakfast and lunch at school. Lubbock Independent School District has an enrollment of 29,000 children and 21,000 of them are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Families who depend on these meals to help feed their families. Not to mention the children in the 19 rural communities that are served by SPFB.
The Kids Café program has always been a great way to provide kids in our service area with hot meals after school to ensure they have an evening meal. Since kids could no longer congregate in large groups this program was quickly shut down. All Boys and Girls clubs closed, YWCA closed and churches who provided afterschool childcare were no longer allowed to open.
The problem SPFB faced was over 30,000 children in our service area were suddenly facing an even greater threat of food insecurity due to not receiving meals from schools. How do we work together as a community to get food to children?
Questions we asked: What are the barriers to getting the food distributed? Lack of Transportation, fear of getting out and getting sick, communication to families of how to access food. How do we get food quickly and safely to children in the rural communities we serve? What are the likeminded organizations we need to be collaborating with to get this done?
By the end of the first week SPFB had put together a list of organizations we needed to collaborate with to devise a strategic plan to ensure all children had the food they needed. SPFB quickly reached out to these organization and on Monday March 23 SPFB hosted the first weekly online virtual meeting of over 30 organizations dedicated to the common mission of ensuring no child went without food. Each organization was asked to come ready to answer several questions.
Together we planned to distribute Grab and Go meals at various locations. Schools delivered meals to bus routes. SPFB set up drive through locations at community centers and apartment complexes. Meals for a week were provided. Also distributed was fresh produce, milk and bread. These methods were all conducted using social distancing and safe food handling procedures.
Communications were sent out over all media outlets about these distributions. Parents were encouraged to come and get food for their children. SPFB continued to distribute food boxes to families all over our service and increased them by 60%. SPFB worked with local city officials to make sure transportation was provided and home deliveries were set up. Social media and websites were updated daily to ensure current and correct information was always available.
The “aha” moment for the South Plains Food Bank came when we saw lines of cars down the street waiting to pick up food. The entire community now understood how quickly people could be thrust into a position of needing assistance. Hearing the thank yous and seeing the tears of parents who were relieved to find the help they desperately needed.
Lubbock Independent School District, Cooper Independent School District, Frenship Independent School District, Communities in Schools, City of Lubbock Durham Bus System, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, Emergency Management Center, Faith Based Organizations, South Plains Community Action Children’s Home of Lubbock, Lubbock Mayor’s Office, Food Truck Association, Aramark Food Service, United Supermarkets, Lowes, Supermarkets, City Bus of Lubbock Rural Transportation System
Southside First Baptist Church
Kansas City, MO
A big problem for our pantry this year was a lack of space. This meant that we did not have enough room to be social distant during distributions.
We shifted our pantry model and began distributing food in a curbside manner, which allowed our volunteers and clients to all remain safely distant while still ensuring that the need for food assistance was met.
When an individual pantry member thanked us for helping out, because he didn't know how he was going to provide enough food for this family.
All of our staff and members.
St Therese Little Flower Catholic Church
Kansas City, MO
Getting hot meals to those who could no longer come to the Senior Center because of the risk of COVID-19.
To get food from Harvesters to continue to fix meals and take lunch to Seniors in need.
My aha moment was when several of the Seniors said that I did not forget themfor get them.
Dan and Ruth Dakotas, B.J. Atkinson, Donald Sanders, Rosalind O'Hara
St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at St. Therese Church
Kansas City, MO
Hundreds of families living in Platte County, MO have been affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic. Job loses, reduced working hours, medical situations, and many more issues have all affected families, resulting in increased needs for healthy food (which may no longer be available to them due to lack of funds) as well as emergency financial assistance.
The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry was established to help those in need with food and emergency assistance—when people are in need we will be there. It has been operational since 1961 and is a totally volunteer organization, an outreach ministry of the St. Therese Church in Parkville, MO.
The solution was that we saw an increase in the donations received early on in this pandemic. Unfortunately, a new problem has occurred as the pandemic continues – the level of generosity is beginning to slow, understandably since no one knows how long this situation will continue. The St. Therese community has been very generous to assist us in so many ways. We keep our hopes up and if we win, this grant will go far!
The need is great! Located in what is viewed as a relatively affluent community, it is amazing how many people live on the edge or in actual poverty.
The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry has 150+ volunteers who freely provide their time and talent to keep the doors of the food pantry open 5 days a week from 8am-Noon. Donations from generous individuals, local grocery stores, businesses, and restaurants help us provide this assistance to needy households.
Due to the pandemic, food insecurity in our community skyrocketed. People needed no-barrier access to food.
We transformed our front porch into an accessible 24/7 no questions asked food pantry. Community members can drop food off at any time and others can pick food up at anytime. We have a small fridge and freezer for perishable items. We also started a weekly homemade high quality community meal program that serves 250+ meals every Wednesday for no charge.
The community comes together to care for one another when given the space and resources to do so. All people deserve to feel cared for and the weekly meal not only provides nutrition but comfort and care.
The whole community comes together to make sure that people are connected to good food during this crisis.
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank
Terre Haute, IN
Like many other communities across the US, west central Indiana has faced significant unemployment and lingering underemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related business closures and job furloughs.
In order to supplying much needed emergency food assistance to those individuals and families facing food insecurity - many for the first time - we partnered with several local organizations to coordinate a drive thru food distribution.
During the largest food distribution in our 40 year history, we provided pre-boxed dairy, fresh produce, meat and eggs to 1,700 families in 2 hours!
We couldn't have done it without the more than 100 volunteers who showed up from Purdue extension, 4-H, Duke Energy, Vigo County Fairgrounds, Vigo County Blue Truck Cavalry, Candidates for elected office, Vigo County School Corp. Terre Haute South Key Club and Terre Haute South JROTC among others. Not only did our volunteers comment about how well organized the distribution was, but our neighbors who received food were thankful for all of the people who came out to provide it!
True Faith Outreach
Kansas City, MO
During the COVID-19 outbreak with rising food insecurities, unemployment, and accessibility for seniors, our client choice pantry was faced with the decision to continue or suspend our services. Knowing that our nonprofit midtown location would be overwhelming affected.
We revised the application process to ensure safety for those we serve as well as our volunteers by preparing pre-packed box items, while trying to maintain a healthy choice. Enlarging our mobile service for seniors and delivering to their doorsteps.
When we are approach with a sincere thanks or testimony for our clients.
Thank you Harvesters Community Food Network, grocery recovery through our local Costco’s, and supporters that have contributed to this cause and helped us with our mission.
United Believers Church
Kansas City, MO
COVID-19 unexpectedly changed the landscape of our world. Moreover, it changed the world of the most impoverished community in the entire state of Missouri, namely Hickman Mills.
The solution could only happen through partnerships. The problem was multi-layered so the solution had to be a multi prong approach. We started by sharing cold breakfast and hot meals to school aged children because their schools or source for nutrition were closed. The program started out serving 50 meals a day to peaking at 300 meals a day by summer. We quickly saw the need was larger than students; it included families so we partnered with Harvesters to be a part of the Mobile Pantry program serving over 300 families monthly.
Food is more than a basic commodity. Food is an essential element. So we began to anchor our food distributions to other initiatives, such as clothes giveaways, COVID prevention rallies, get out to vote gatherings, and utilizing our partnership with Hickman Mills school district to provide a virtual academy to nearly 50 students whose parents were deemed essential workers and had to work.
We were happy to partner in this continued effort with Hickman Mills School District, Harvester's Food Network, Kauffman Foundation, and our church members.
Kansas City, KS
The COVID-19 Pandemic hit hard on the low-income, diverse populations of color in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas. Wyandotte ranks second highest among Kansas counties for confirmed COVID-19 cases and related deaths, and averages a 17% positivity rate. Wyandotte?s unemployment rate jumped to 14.1% in May 2020 from 3.9%, 12-months earlier.
The Health Equity Task Force of Wyandotte County encouraged its members to collaborate in responding to the health and social needs of residents, with a focus on COVID testing and food insecurity.
Vibrant Health partnered with Harvesters Food Network to provide food boxes for more than 200 families at our free, pop-up, COVID-19 testing events held in multiple neighborhoods over the past several months. This assistance helps to combat food insecurity, especially important to families during the mandated quarantine period. Vibrant Health’s COVID-response outreach efforts were generously supported by funds raised through donations and grants.
True health care strives to provide “whole person care,” meeting every need of the vulnerable children and adults that we serve.
Harvesters, The Community Food Network, Ryan Kepley, Agency Services Manager, Kansas City, MO.
Warriors for Wyandotte
Kansas City, KS
There were a lot of families in need of food in Wyandotte County. Transportation is one of the biggest issues here. A lot of our families are single, lower income homes.
We keep close contact with the social workers at the 26 schools that we mentor. So the schools allowed us to put up food pantries on their campuses to help meet that need. Other schools counselors or social workers would notify us of a family in need, so we go to the grocery store, purchase food, and deliver them to the families.
Our aha moment was seeing so many children needing to provide themselves with meals due to single parent homes. Wyandotte County is one of poorest counties in Kansas, so we whatever we can to meet our families needs.
Italian Delight, Harvesters, and the local community.
We Fight Poverty
With the March 2020 onset of COVID-19, the Topeka, Kansas community, including most local foodbanks and basic needs providers, had to close their doors. Thousands of people suddenly found themselves out of work and unable to access assistance.
At Community Action, we fight poverty in all its forms, and we understood how critical it was to bring help and hope to people who were suddenly finding neither in their daily lives. We also knew, however, how important it would be to keep our staff, volunteers, and our customers, safe.
Community Action partnered with Capital Federal Bank to open a pop-up, drive-through "Care Station." Within a week of the community-wide shut down, our team had identified a safe way to interact with customers in need. We located an empty bank facility, began negotiations with bank officials and were approved to use the facility at no cost.
In one week's time, we brought equipment, furniture, supplies and internet into the facility. We prepped staff, developed safety and cleaning protocols, and opened the drive through on April 8, 2020.
Customers were able to receive emergency rent and utility assistance, perscription help, access supplies needed to help them start or maintain their employment, and much more.
We opened a food pantry that allowed drive-thru customers to complete a check-list of the items we had on stock, ensuring customers were receiving only what they could put to good use. We exchanged food boxes through a secure, no-contact foyer.
We partnered with a group of local volunteers who helped with home delivery of food for people unable to leave their houses.
The use of a drive-through window system was our first "aha" moment, as it presented a safe way to do in-person assistance without compromising the health of customers or staff. Our next "aha" came when we figured out how to use other office space in the former bank building to open computers and internet service to people who had no access (since other public spaces had closed). We set up a private, separate entrance, put a computer in each office, and covered the keyboards with disposable plastic wrap prior to each customer's use.
Customers came in to apply online for jobs, put in unemployment applications, complete their census, stay in touch with family, and to keep court dates via online video meetings with judges and attorneys. Customers also met with therapists online.
The third "aha" moment came when we realized all the no-charge, volunteer income tax preparation clinics had closed, leaving thousands of low-income people without a service they'd previously accessed for help. We dedicated one of the private offices to tax preparation and worked with a local, female-owned accounting business to help nearly 200 low-income households, mainly senior citizens, file their taxes, in the height of the pandemic. Our stict regimine of cleaning and sanitizing helped us operate the Care Station with no incidents of COVID-contraction.
Capital Federal Bank, WeTopeka (volunteer group), Peggy's Tax Service, Dillon's Grocery (Kroger), a local fuel station, United Way of Greater Topeka, Topeka Community Foundation, Sunflower Foundation, and many, many more.
West Side Baptist Church
Before the pandemic, our food pantry was held in the church basement. Clients would come in, go down the stairs or take the elevator. They would shop and leave with their food back the same way they came. Our March numbers were 206 families were served 4250 lbs of food. When the pandemic struck, we were unable to use the church as our base.
Our only option if we continued was to move out to our church's garage in the middle of the church parking lot and make our pantry a drive through service.
The garage did not have any electricity or water and was exposed to any weather, especially temperature. Ibrought in an gasoline powered generator to run some fans during our hot summer. Another helper bought in a window air conditioner; he and another helper constructed a door to put the air conditioner in and a wall made of wood and plastic to seal the front of the garage from the elements. I supplied a pop-up canopy to keep the people checking cars in and loading food out of the sun and rain.
When it started getting cold, I bought in a kerosene heater and a propane lamp as it was getting darker earlier. Out of this set up, we have been open every scheduled pantry since the pandemic started. Our numbers of families we serve and the amount of food we serve has exploded. Our October numbers were 458 families served 17,534 lbs of food. That compares with the March numbers of 206 families and 4,250 lbs of food.
We realize that with the numbers of people and food that we are dealing with now, we cannot move the operation back into the church basement even if we were allowed to now.
We operate for 2 hours every Wednesday, and we couldn't move 100 families through our church basement, but we can move that number through our drive thru in the parking lot. Running our operation our of the garage is a challenge, especially when it comes to the weather.
We have met the challenges so far and continue to try and improve conditions for our volunteers and clients. A donation supplied us with a pallet jack to aid in movement of the food around in the garage and we are getting an estimate to supply electricity to the garage to see perhaps if we can afford to have that done.
Right now, we are thinking that we will be operating out of the garage no matter what happens now.
The Outreach and Evangelism Ministry of the West Side Baptist Church runs the food pantry program. Members of the church as well as several neighborhood people volunteer weekly to sort and handout the food. 2 hours of setting up, unloading the delivery truck, and 1 hour of shutting down are required. Harvester's of Topeka and Kansas City supply our food. We are so thankful that they have been able to keep the supply of food coming during these needy times.
Wonderful Works Deliverance Center
Wonderful Works Deliverance Center is located in a low income area of Topeka, KS. We offered free tutoring and after school feeding program and a free summer every year for the past 5 years. With Covid-19, schools closed and some of the families lost their jobs. We knew that would or could be food shortages. As a church, WE had to do something.
WWDC went into action. We decided to use our resources and since the families and kids could not come to us, WE decided to GO TO THEM.
We ordered thousands of pounds of food. We made boxes with complete meal for the families of those in the neighborhood. We even delivered food to families that where not able to come to us.
On Sundays during the summer, we grilled outside and feed the homeless, or people with food insecurities, or anyone just walking down the street. We even purchase snacks for the kids that were home all day. Even though WWDC (Wonderful Works Deliverance Center) is a small church and our Dr. Samuel Peters has a "heart for the people," we knew we had to do something.
Our AHA moment was something we recalled as a kid, the scripture that said "When did I see you Lord. I was hungry and you feed me NOT." Knowing that God has given us an opportunity to help the kids and even help the parents to make meals, hot nutritious meals for their family. We had to do something. We have to take care those close and in our community. If not US then WHO.
The wonderful members of Wonderful Works were involved.
YMCA of Greater Kansas City
North Kansas City, MO
Shortage of available healthy options to provide for the food insecure. Providing food to those in need is available to do so, however, healthy choices has it's limitations. Identifying the lack of healthy food choices was the primary concern in ensuring we could follow through on our mission of the Y and ensuring we were a part of the puzzle in solving this global concern.
Develop the YMCA Urban Farm. A .25 acre farm within the city limits of Kansas City that during COVID was built to include 10 raised beds, 20 orchard trees and a 20' x 60' greenhouse. We have begun harvesting our produce to include kale, cabbage, carrots, raddish and many more healthy options. Every item grown from the farm will be given back to those in need.
Our first harvest included a variety of lettuces, broccoli and edamame. We identified KC Healthy Kids as our partner for our first harvest. In doing so, we had a real understanding of the need in our community. Many of the kids of KC Healthy Kids are immigrants and refugees. Currently, these new Americans are in extreme need of support. Resources that were once available to them, no longer exist. Support systems that once existed, are no longer there. Seeing this in person, shines light on the extreme pains our country and globaly is in.
Our children are hungry and we are seeing certain produce being disposed of by some farms. In having the opportunity to give our first harvest to a few immigrant families, we understand that we have only touched the top of the iceberg. We recognize that the need is growing and our work, in partnership with so many great organizations, can assist with this growing need. Our Y is committed to see no child hungry. To that, we see the work of the YMCA Urban Farm in the near future to serve as a primary provided of healthy options to serve those in need for the greater Kansas City area.
We have partned with several agencies and organizations to make the farm a reality. Our partners include Humana, American Heart Association, Stuppy Greenhouses and Fry and Associates. Each of these busiensses assisted financially of through in kind donation in which to provide a solid business case for the building of our farm.
Voting Has Ended
We are so proud to share the creative ways nonprofits and communities are coming together to provide meals, supplies and support to those in need. This round of voting has ended but you can still get inspired to fight food insecurity by reading the stories below. Together let's #SolveIt.
Solving for Hunger
There are many ways to help solve hunger. We can all play an important role. From sharing an inspiring to stories to boxing up food to donating a dollar -- whatever works for you, we welcome you to join us. $1 helps to provide at least ten meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.Donate
Solving for Hunger
There are many ways to help solve hunger. We can all play an important role. From sharing an inspiring to stories to boxing up food to donating a dollar -- whatever works for you, we welcome you to join us. $1 helps to provide at least ten meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.Donate