Necessity is the mother of invention, or so said Plato in his Republic. Who are we to argue with ancient Greek philosophers? In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been forced to reimagine the way we do a lot of things. For NNEMAP Food Pantry (and others), this has meant that customers no longer have the freedom to enter the building and choose their groceries. It’s not ideal, but we are continuing to get food to customers.
As the lockdown settled in, NNEMAP Food Pantry introduced a grocery delivery service, available on a limited basis. Also, we are now serving customers from any ZIP Code. We have eliminated a huge barrier to pantry access by expanding our service area.
As jobs and incomes have disappeared, so have the thin financial cushions that separated our customers from disaster. To help people preserve scarce financial resources, we have been permitting weekly visits to the pantry, up from 2 visits per month. Weekly visits will become permanent policy starting on Monday, August 3.
For our many working customers, we are expanding our hours to offer more convenient shopping times. Starting August 6, afternoon/evening hours will be available every Thursday from 3pm-7pm. The first hour of every Thursday will be reserved for customers who are over 60; immunocompromised; or differently abled.
Beginning August 8, Saturday shopping hours will be available. From 10am to 1pm, customers will be full-service pantry shopping–food distribution will not be restricted to produce and bread.
We are looking forward to these permanent service enhancements that will better serve our customers. Our expansion efforts have been made possible through generous funding from the City of Columbus; United Way of Central Ohio; The Columbus Foundation; the Ohio CDC Association Community Recovery Fund; and our many dedicated individual and church sponsors.
Studies show that adults can recall memories from when they were 3 or 4 years old. Any memories before that would be pretty boring. Most of them would revolve around being dependent on other people to meet your basic needs. I’m hungry–somebody feed me! Oops–now my diaper needs changed. Little help?!?
Diapers and wipes can get pricey. And formula? That can break the bank. It’s easy enough to mash up some fruits and veggies and call it baby food. But toddler foods–stuff that’s made for kiddos to pick up as they learn how to feed themselves? Not cheap. Economic reality might mean parents have to put off a change to stretch the life of your diaper (warning: diaper rash ahead!). No finger foods can delay the development of those crucial small-motor skills. When you’re that little, you don’t have much control over what goes on.
Sometimes parents are forced into making sacrifices without even realizing it. But should you really have to make sacrifices when you’re bringing up baby?
We asked the Kiwanis Club of Columbus, and the response was a resounding–NO!
The Kiwanis Club of Columbus delivered a generous $6,250 grant to help launch ‘Full Bellies-Clean Bottoms’–an initiative to help NNEMAP Food Pantry keep baby supplies stocked for our youngest customers. Our amazing church partners and two fantastic diaper-drive organizations do their best to help us keep these products on our shelves. Despite their efforts, we still run short at certain times of the month.
Thanks to our Kiwanis Club friends, those days are over. Straight ahead: happy babies!
To join the Kiwanis Club of Columbus and support our Full Bellies-Clean Bottoms program, please click below to make a secure online donation!
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.