CARDINGTON — Joe and Hilarie Barry came to help Wednesday morning at the Cardington First United Methodist Church’s food pantry.
“We are not from this church. We work in Delaware and go to church there, but we wanted to help locally,” Hilarie said.
Some who help with the weekly food pantry are age 65 or older and were asked not to come during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have been so blessed. God has provided for us,” Joe said. “We want to do what we can to help others when they need it.”
Volunteers filled grocery carts with non-perishable food items, bread and canned goods. They were taken to cars in the church’s parking lot to avoid contact during the health issue.
The Cardington Community Food Pantry was founded in 2010. Last year, a total of 4,98o households (or 14,741 individuals) were served.
Matthew Wilson is a volunteer at the food pantry. In recent weeks, a few changes were made to the distribution process.
“We have traditionally been a choice pantry, which allows people to pick out those items they need. But unfortunately, we have had to switch to a pre-box system,” Wilson said.
“That’s to keep the social distancing and to keep us and our clients safe.”
Registration is completed outside and boxes are loaded into vehicles or given to those who walk-in. Clients are asked to remain in their vehicle or stand on the sidewalk staying six feet apart.
Wilson said that’s the biggest challenge.
“The way we used to operate was the connection we had with the people we are serving,” he said. “We like to be able to talk to them, find out what their needs are and tailor it to them. We are doing our best to figure out what people need, and give it to them even at a distance.”
Wilson said there is a substantial need. On March 25, they served 79 families/274 individuals with 21 new families.
“We expect demand to increase over the next few weeks,” Wilson said.
The pantry continues to operate during the public health crisis, but the fresh produce market may not. “It’s going to be really hard to provide that service with the pre-pack,” he said.
The food pantry is open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon at the church, 300 S. Marion St., Cardington.
For information visit the pantry’s website at www.cardingtonfoodpantry.org.