Expecting a rise in need, Epworth United Methodist Church has implemented curbside service for its food pantry program.
“We’ll be here until we’re finished with COVID-19,” said Ken Mahan, Epworth’s Inviting All Program manager, during a recent interview.
Mahan said beginning Thursday, March 18, Epworth will be directing people to the oceanside entrance of the church, where they will be given a list of available items, and then a volunteer will go back and get the food. There are benches, and it’s covered, he said.
Epworth will be providing the service three days a week – 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday; 2-5 p.m., Thursday; and 1-3 p.m., Sunday, which will also include the soup kitchen.
It will be a hot meal, but take-out, said Mahan about the soup kitchen.
The Rev. Dr. Vicki Gordy-Stith, Epworth senior pastor, said the church is still looking to provide to the community.
“We’d rather try and adjust, than cancel,” said Gordy-Stith.
Mahan said he expects to see a rise because the normal clientele will come, but so will restaurant staff and other people who have been put out of work.
Mickie McManahan, Epworth Demonstrating Care program manager, said she expects to see the need rise next week or the week after. It’s the folks with low-paying jobs who can’t go much longer than a week, she said.
Plus, said McManahan, kids are home from school eating more food.
For now, the church is preparing for more, but the food supply isn’t endless. A lot of the food used for the program comes as surplus from local stores through the church’s food rescue program. A recent delivery morning saw 58 pounds of food delivered from a local grocery store.
“That’s way down,” said Mahan.
In an interview March 17, Mahan said food is still coming in light, but the church has tons of stuff in storage. There’s a couple weeks’ worth, he said.
Mahan said the church is going to be careful to make sure the people getting food are on a needed basis versus hoarding.
Looking past the next couple of weeks, Mahan said the church does have some money to buy food, but that’s not ideal.
“That’s assuming we can go out and buy food,” he said.
Mahan said the church is accepting donations of nonperishable goods when the kitchen is open.
For more information, call Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, at 302-227-7743.