Covid-19 has surprising impact on Miami food pantry

Joplin Area Coronavirus

MIAMI, Ok. — Covid-19 had a surprising effect on a local food pantry that feeds senior citizens.

They stopped coming, sheltering in place–leaving the organization with a lot of food.

Now they’re seeing a lot of people–but they’re younger–some never having come to a food pantry ever.

Patricia Dalke, Director, Christian Help Center, said, “I feel blindsided for what has occurred in the last four months.”

Many food pantries are struggling to keep their shelves stocked.

But Christian Help Center in Grove is dealing with a different challenge.

“We were seeing kind of a peak, when the pandemic hit, we stayed opened, we’ve never closed and it just dropped down to where we were only seeing 5 to 6 a day.”

They went from consistently seeing at least 300 routine clients–usually senior citizens– to under 10 clients.

“We didn’t hardly see any seniors, hardly any at all.”

But they did see a new client base.

“People who had never been to a pantry, this was their first time, and they seemed to be somewhat shell-shocked. Never thought they’d have to use a pantry. People who are falling through the gaps, people who are not really able to take advantage of the cares act.”

Here’s where you can help.

The pantry is still seeing a shortage of cereal, beans, and rice.

Dalke believes when some benefits begin to dwindle down, the pantry will see a huge increase in demand.

“It’s going to be kind of a convergence of more people using the pantry, less food. So we’re really reaching out into the community to say hey remember us. We really want you to remember us in your food drives and help us to restock those shelves and keep the food in here.”

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