I just delivered groceries to this customer. She lives pretty close to me, so with a slightly alternate route, I drove right by her street on my way home. Just a few minutes out of my way at most. But probably hours of time saved for our customer. “Oh, thank you so much,” she said as she helped me carry in the groceries. “You have no idea what this means to us!”
Actually, we kinda do–and that’s exactly why we are doing it.
NNEMAP Food Pantry isn’t revolutionary. When you get right down to it, we are just a grocery store. If we’re a grocery store, shouldn’t we offer delivery service? For-profit grocers deliver. It’s a great service for people who are short on time.
Our customers are often short on time, money, and other critical items as well. Limited or no transportation options. No childcare. Medical challenges. Personal mobility challenges. Throw in a pandemic and you have a whole new level of challenges. Transportation and childcare vanished, and the threat to personal health skyrocketed.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just be short on time.
For customers who can’t get out, are afraid to get out or are quarantined and not supposed to go out, NNEMAP Food Pantry is bringing home the bacon. And the eggs, milk, bread, produce, pasta…well, you get the idea.
Delivery isn’t easy. Delivery isn’t cheap. But it is indispensable service for our customers right now. We all pitch in on deliveries when we can. Volunteers, staff, and our partner Gimme the Dirt, Ltd.
Why do it? Because if I’m busy, I can pick up the phone or hop online and order up a grocery delivery to make my life easier. And I believe NNEMAP Food Pantry customers deserve the exact same convenient access to fresh, healthy foods that I enjoy. Don’t you?
In response to social distancing directives, NNEMAP Food Pantry had to make major changes to the service delivery model. The “choice” pantry is not possible right noew, because customers are not allowed to enter the building to shop for food. Instead, volunteers hand out prepackaged, shelf stable foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and other items.
This is not what we are used to. Any of us. Customers, staff, volunteers. We’re used to having the full use of our space, where we can enjoy our time together. But since March 16—and probably for the next few months—this is our reality.
Everyone has adjusted to the changes, but we are sometimes left to wonder if we are still making a difference. A recent phone call showed that we are. “I was just there to pick up some food,” a woman’s voice said. “I wanted to call as soon as I got home to tell you how much I appreciate you being there,” she continued. “The produce I got is wonderful and exactly what I needed,” she said.
I began to apologize for having to operate in such an impersonal manner, but she would have none of it. “Please be careful and make sure you are safe,” she said. “I don’t know what people will do if you aren’t there.”
Dear customer: don’t worry. You just gave us all the motivation we need to keep serving. We will be here! See you next time!
You can be here too (if you want!). Volunteers are always welcome. We have a variety of opportunities and days available. Can’t come in? There are other ways you can help. For information about volunteering, donating, or contributing in other ways, CLICK HERE!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
If you or someone you know has experienced a job loss or decreased income, you may be eligible for emergency food assistance through one of the many food pantry organizations in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently announced that households with gross income up to 230 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for pantry service until further notice.
What does this mean? If you have a family of 4 and your gross income is now AT or BELOW $59,225 per year, OR $4,936 per month, OR $1,139 per week, you are eligible to shop for free groceries at your local food pantry.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (acronymically known as ‘TEFAP’) is based solely on income and not on assets. If you have lost your job, you don’t have to lose everything else. Preserve your savings by using the pantry system to cut down on grocery bills until your income rebounds.