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.
Have you seen our Amazon Wish List? Somebody has, because we have been getting amaz-(on)-ing gifts for the past couple of weeks! Toothpaste–soap–razors–pads–all perfect choices for our customers. We can rarely acquire these products through our channels. When we can, they are rarely at a price point that we can afford. Making these hygiene products available to customers is like putting money back in their pockets. Even for customers who are eligible for SNAP (Food Stamps), those benefits don’t cover these purchases.
Paper AND plastic–wow!!! It’s a bag bonanza! We go through thousands of bags every week, so we spend a pretty good amount of money on these supplies to make transporting groceries easy for our customers. When you shop our wish list, you are saving us valuable money–and time. When these supplies show up on our doorstep, we don’t have to pay for them AND we don’t have to find an hour in our day to go pick them up. Which is great, because there is plenty of other work to do around here!
We can’t thank our donors enough–sending these supplies is good for the goose and the gander! If you can pitch in right now, we would be grateful for the extra support. Find out how you can help by clicking this link.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXTRA HELP PITCHING IN DURING THIS TIME OF CRISIS! WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT!
The coronavirus pandemic has featured no shortage of bitter ironies. Add one more to the list. Our annual Volunteer Appreication Luncheon, scheduled each year in April, has been postponed. Although a new date has not been set, we are tentatively planning to celebrate the exceptional work of our volunteer staff in September. At a time when we owe so much to our dedicated volunteers, we are extremely disappointed that we have to reschedule this afternoon of hard-earned and much deserved recognition. We are looking forward to our best event ever in the fall!
The late Fred Rogers’s direction to “look for people who are helping” in times of crisis has come up a lot lately. And with good reason. This is certainly an unusual time, and certainly a crisis. We have found the helpers–and in some cases, the helpers found us.
We cannot tell you how grateful we are to have so many incredible people helping us.
We have lost jobs. We have lost hours. We have lost. A lot. Despite all that, the helpers are present.
*There’s Zaftig Brewers, who donated 200 pounds of fresh produce after having to close their (awesome) Italian Village location.
*Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers gave 250 free kids combo coupons to distribute to our customers.
A dedicated cast of volunteers has stepped up–Victoria, Richard, Judy, Valerie, Madonna, Cathy, Sharon–all working tirelessly to make sure customers get served. Because we can’t do this without volunteers.
Pantry Manager Jim Hamberg, Pantry Services Coordinator Ali Dojki, and Executive Director Roy Clark have continuously refined the operation to ensure volunteers have a safe work environment and customers get plenty of healthy and safe food choices.
If you are reading this, I know YOU are a helper, too. If you can’t get out to help, you can help from the safety and comfort of your own home. Please consider donating money or materials to help us continue to serve customers. There are many ways to help–click below to find out more.