“The need is up by a lot right now, up by around 75%,” Spencer, a volunteer at West Suburban Community Pantry shared that he has been arriving at 5:45am to help with the extra need. He is the only one available from his usual shift group as the other volunteers are over 65 and in a higher risk group for the virus so they are unable to volunteer right now. They miss volunteering and call him to make sure he and the clients are ok each day he is there.
There are so many people on the front lines of this Covid-19 crisis and providing food for families affected by job loss and economic stressors is so needed right now.
I captured the hard working staff and volunteers at West Suburban Community Pantry continuing to provide needed assistance. New volunteers were serving for the first time because they saw a need and responded. Staff members like Pantry Manager Kevin are leading with a steadiness and calm (and his humor keeps everyone smiling despite the difficult times) that is helping them pivot and transition to best serve their clients.
A husband and wife team Mike and Lainie answered a request for help and now serve together as a couple each week at WSCP. Board members like Kevin Delano are coming in on Saturdays to make sure WSCP can meet the needs in the community the best they can. His children even did a food drive to help gather supplies WSCP needed.
During one 2 hour period they are seeing 120-135 cars drive up and get food loaded into their trunks for their families. They have pivoted how they serve as clients can no longer come into the pantry to gather what they need so within days they created a no contact system where they package and deliver food to people’s trunks. WSCP has seen the need increase during this time of crisis but have also had a front seat to see the generosity of people in the community including a community member who spent their stimulus check on the items they were in need of most listed on their website and dropped the donations off.
Executive Director Laura Coyle shares, "Feeding your family is a priority no matter what else is going on in life. When times are especially tough, like during the Covid-19 crisis, we know it is even more important for us to be there for the families we serve. Our top priority is always getting healthy food to our neighbors, so families can focus on other things like finding new employment or caring for their children. We are so grateful to our donors and volunteers who have been by our side through all of this. We truly are a community."
This fight is waged on many fronts and I am grateful for people serving and loving and reminding us being a good neighbor is central.