Pantry delivery serves vulnerable families during the pandemic
Meal and grocery delivery services became a staple for many families under Safer at Home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, already and newly vulnerable people were left with fewer options to provide basic needs like food for their families. Wage and job loss, changes to public transportation, and increased food insecurity as a result of the pandemic brought increasing uncertainty and, in some cases, hopelessness. Enter, The Salvation Army.
Sarah Rafiq, Social Services Program Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Bonita Springs, Florida, started a pantry delivery service of sorts to help make sure local families didn’t go hungry.
“Food insecurity is a year-round issue,” said Rafiq. “But it is heightened during the pandemic.” Rafiq was quick to recognize new challenges for people to access the pantry in its usual form at the local Salvation Army office. “The most vulnerable…do not have access to reliable transportation,“ she noted. “Even if someone walked to the [pantry] distribution, it can be challenging to carry the items back.”
Rafiq was determined to help when the community needed it most. She delivered that help – and hope – right to the doorsteps of struggling families who couldn’t travel to the outreach office for food.
Some weeks, visiting 26 families on delivery day, Rafiq donned a mask and gloves to leave non-perishable food, hygiene supplies, diapers, and other needed items in driveways and at front doors in Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida. Much of the response to this new initiative has been gratitude and relief, “I could not repay you for your kindness, but I pray that God will,” read one text message.
You can help meet the needs of local families when you make an online donation or drop off nonperishable food items, hygiene items, baby supplies, paper goods, or cleaning and sanitizing supplies at any local Salvation Army office.
Collecting food items among neighbors and using grocery delivery services to send items directly to your local Salvation Army office are great ways to help, stay safe, and practice social distancing.
Story by Eric Anderson, Ft. Myers Area Command