How CARES of Farmington Hills, Michigan, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic
CARES of Farmington Hills (Michigan) is a front-line food pantry that serves nine cities. CARES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES office included a large meeting area, clothing room, and the food pantry. Before the pandemic arrived, it was a client-choice, self-serve food pantry set up like a grocery store that is available to those in need in the service area. The pantry was open five days a week, and shopping was available by appointment. Each guest can visit the pantry once each month, and no guest is ever turned away. If a guest is not in our service area, they are offered an emergency bag that consists of enough food for a couple of days and are given a list of food pantries near them. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were serving 400 to 500 families each month.
When the pandemic struck, the client-choice pantry and other areas in the building were cleared out to allow pallets of food to be stored so they could be used in a bag-packing process. The entire distribution process changed to a drive-up system, where carts of food were unloaded into each guest’s trunk with no personal contact. We were complying with the recommendations of a variety of health organizations throughout the region and state by doing this. . . .
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