Coronavirus crisis has increased community need
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – At least 300 households received 25 to 35 pounds of food March 31 at a Gleaners Community Food Bank drive-up distribution at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church.
Families hard hit by economic losses during the current coronavirus crisis are increasing the demand for food from local food banks and pantries, which have switched to outside parking lot distributions to limit person-to-person contact, to lessen the risk of contagion.
Gleaners Program Manager Klair Urbin, who was greeting guests at the Melvindale distribution site, said they had enough food for 300 households, and could call for more if supplies ran low.
“It’s so nice to see our community come together, and everybody helping out,” Urbin said. “At the same time, it is difficult to see how many people are in need because of this crisis.”
Kristin Sokul, public relations director for Gleaners, said other upcoming food distributions are planned for Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Melvindale, Riverview, Southgate, Taylor and Trenton. She recommends that people check with a given site before going to a distribution to verify the time and specific details.
In Dearborn, Christ Episcopal Church, 120 N. Military, distributes food 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Dearborn Heights has two distribution sites. First Assembly of God FirstWorks FreeStore, 5650 S. Telegraph Road, operates from noon to 2 p.m. the second and fourth Friday of each month, with an 11:30 a.m. opening for seniors over 70 and people with disabilities. Help’s on the Way, 5358 S. Beech Daly, is open 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
In Melvindale, Bread of Life food bank, at Faith Christian Assembly, 25201 W. Outer Drive, operates from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of the month. The food bank has converted its operation to a drive-through mode to help limit person-to-person contact.
The Rev. Ray Bucciarelli said the non-profit needs gloves and face shields to protect its volunteers during food distributions. In addition, monetary donations to Bread of Life can be made through its website, faithchristian.me.
In Riverview, Gleaners will be at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, 13249 Pennsylvania Road, from 10 to 11 a.m. April 15, and will distributes food at the site every other Wednesday.
Southgate has two Gleaners church distribution sites. Bethel Baptist, 13330 Trenton Road, distributes food from noon to 2:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturdays. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 16700 Pennsylvania Road, distributes food from 3:15 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays.
In Taylor, Gleaners distributes food through Fish and Loaves Community Food Pantry, 25670 Northline Road, which has also switched to outside food distribution, from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 7 p.m. Monday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Mary Hollens, Fishes and Loaves executive director, said the drive-through food distribution will help keep vulnerable seniors out of grocery stores, where they could be exposed to COVID-19. She said families whose children would have received free meals at school are now facing an increasing need for groceries to feed their children while the schools are closed.
Trenton has two Gleaners distribution sites. Southpoint Community Christian Church, 5699 Fort St., distributes food from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday, and St. Philip Lutheran Church, 1790 Fort St., distributes food from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Wednesday.