Local food pantries still helping needy
ESCANABA — Food pantry managers are keeping business hours as usual, but the process to receive food has changed slightly.
Escanaba Salvation Army Major Alex Norton said the facility is in total quarantine. Clients will receive all food in to-go containers at the entrance of the community center, and all pantry services on Mondays and Wednesdays will be given to people without entering the building for the usual length of time.
“Paperwork will be sleeker and economical to aid in this new process,” said Norton. “Our pantry giveaways from local businesses will be bagged and handed out through the doors instead of the usual shopping self-bagging experience our client guests use now.”
Volunteers and employees of the Salvation Army in Escanaba are now required to wear gloves and masks to protect their clients and themselves.
“All of our volunteers and employees will be required to wear gloves and masks for our protection. Not to scare our guest, but to stay healthy since we are the first line of aid during this time.”
Normally the Salvation Army needs around 2,000 pounds of food a week to serve people in the area. Norton is concerned that if donations slow the food will have to be purchased, cutting into funding for other emergency programs.
“People can donate funds to the pantry in which we can buy food for pennies on the dollar, but we will gladly take food donations all the same,” said Norton.
The Salvation Army of Escanaba is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an hour lunch between noon and 1 p.m. It is located at 3001 5th Ave. S., Escanaba. For additional information call 906-786-0590.
St. Vincent de Paul Society’s food pantry in Gladstone, located at 816 Delta Ave., on the parking lot side of its store, has modified the way it are serving the public.
“We have modified the way we are serving our clients,” said Nancy Frazer, pantry manager. “We ask people to fill out a slip located outside the door and place in the basket. To protect our workers we are asking people to wait in their car and we will bring out the items on a cart.”
Frazer recognizes the importance of keeping the pantry open and will continue to keep it open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 906-428-9690 to make arrangements for food pantry items to be picked up.
“Our clients do not get to choose what they get, it is predetermined because of the influx of requests we have received. There are not a lot of donations being dropped off currently … groceries are expensive and we’re limited to what we can buy,” said Frazer. “We are praying for all who are in need of our services.”
Escanaba St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) food pantry is continuing to operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, each week. The soup kitchen is continuing on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Only the procedure has changed,” said Loretta DeChristopher, vice president Escanaba district council and president of St. Joseph and St. Patrick parish SVdP conference. “We’re not inviting people into the waiting room while they wait for their order to be processed from the food pantry, and the soup kitchen is creating bag lunches to hand out.”
To place an order with the SVdP Food Pantry call 906-789-1434, and workers will fill your request and hand it out from SVdP pantry door. Delivery is not available and pickup can be scheduled by the receiver if they need someone else to pick up their order.
“Other needs for help, with rent and others, can be expressed by calling the same number,” said DeChristopher. “Anyone who needs help can call.”
DeChristopher said donations have been steady and the food pantry currently has plenty of food.
“Our community is very generous and we are grateful for the donations we receive,” said DeChristopher.
SVdP is continuing to accept other household donations at the warehouse for processing and the recycle program that supports the store.