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.
Having trouble with transportation? Compromised health condition keeping you confined to your home? We will bring the goods to your doorstep! NNEMAP Food Pantry has partnered with local janitorial and environmental services contractor Gimme the Dirt, Ltd. to offer free grocery delivery service for our customers.
Here’s how it works:
Delivery is available on TUESDAY and THURSDAY throughout Columbus.
Want to help pack provisions for our patrons? Fill bags and boxes of food for our favorite folks? Get in here! Call 614-297-0533 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us you are ready for action!
Special thanks to @gimmethedirtohio for making this service possible. If you need residential or commercial cleaning services, we know who can help!
Things are happening fast these days. Travel restrictions, school and business closings, inexplicable runs on toilet paper….it can be a little overwhelming. Now is not the time to recoil in the face of calamity. As my typing class primer implored instead–“Now is the time for all good [people]* to come to the aid of their country.”
*-edited to use more inclusive language!
NNEMAP Food Pantry could use your help. Here are 3 easy ways for you to pitch in and make an immediate difference:
1: VOLUNTEER Monday through Friday mornings from 8:30am to 12:00pm, needed to help manage our temporary service model and also “deep clean” the pantry. To schedule volunteer days/times, please contact Executive Director Roy Clark at email@example.com.
2: DONATE STUFF Bars of soap would be awesome. We would like to make sure every household gets at least one full-size bar of soap every visit. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, and feminine hygiene products are always good products to donate as well. For additional donation ideas, please contact Pantry Manager Jim Hamberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3: DONATE MONEY We expect service numbers to increase greatly over time as the impact of this event comes to bear on our customers. The “downstream” effects of school closures, job layoffs and wage losses will devastate our customer base. It costs about $16 per customer visit and around $1,200 a day on average to operate the pantry. Contributions now will go a long way to keeping us ahead of what will almost certainly be a wave of increased need in the weeks and months to come. To make secure online donations, sign up for the new Givevia “Shop to Give” platform, or learn about other ways to contribute financially, please visit or direct others to visit our website at www.nnemappantry.org/give.
While discussing another matter of worldwide concern once, a volunteer assured me, “We’ve survived since the days of living in caves–we’ll surely survive this.” When we all work together, we work best.
Attention NNEMAP Food Pantry shoppers: As a precautionary measure to our valued customers, volunteers and employees relative to the Coronavirus, beginning MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020, NNEMAP Food Pantry will begin distributing pre-filled orders of grocery items. Each order will include a variety of canned fruits, grains, proteins and a beverage. You will also receive abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. As available, you will receive eggs and meat products.
During this time, customers will be required to wait outside the pantry. Only volunteers and employees may enter the building. Please have your identification ready. You may be asked to complete a paper form for verification purposes.
In order to best protect the health of our community, we will distribute food in this manner until further notice.
For up-to-date and accurate information about the Coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 illness, please refer to any of the following resources:
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/
Ohio Department of Health: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/
Thank you for your patience as we adjust to this temporary service model. Stay healthy!
A few weeks ago, a volunteer came into my office on another busy Friday. “Can you help this customer?” she asked. “She got a letter about her property taxes and she doesn’t know what it’s about,” she explained.
I went to speak with the customer to learn more. Well into her 80s, she was shopping in a wheelchair, visibly upset. “They’re going to take my house,” she said. After gathering some information, it was time to investigate.
A quick look at the Franklin County Auditor’s website showed her property taxes were current. Perhaps the letter was sent in error or it was in regard to another matter. We had to find out, but how? If it was a legal matter, who could help?
Short answer: the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. I sent all the information to our friends at Legal Aid and explained the situation. They called the customer to learn more about the notice she received in the mail. The customer is now working with the City of Columbus to find out why she received this notice. If our customer needs additional assistance, our friends at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus are a phone call away and completely free of charge.
This story will have a happy ending, and it’s all because of the wonderful partnerships that help NNEMAP Food Pantry serve more than food.
-Our CUSTOMER, our most important partner, knew she could share her concern with the NNEMAP volunteer who was helping her shop.
-Our VOLUNTEER, the heart and soul of our organization, knew there was some way we could help.
-Our STAFF identified an agency that could help the customer.
-Our REPRESENTATIVE from the Legal Aid Society of Columbus immediately responded to our customer’s needs and continues to follow up.
At NNEMAP Food Pantry, we can give you food. And we can listen.
We can’t give you legal advice, but we can connect you with someone who can.
We can’t complete your application for SNAP/Food Stamps benefits, but we can connect you with someone who will.
We can’t help you choose the right health care plan or explain how open enrollment works, but we can connect you with someone who does.
We CAN care about connecting you to trusted, quality services and organizations. And we do. Because ALL of our partnerships are important.
To find out how YOU CAN BE A PARTNER, click the link below. We can’t wait to see you!