Distant but Social
Expect the best but plan for the worst. In late February, the headlines warning of COVID-19’s impact intensified. We at GRACE realized that while we planned for our own families, we needed to plan for the families who come every week to pick up their fresh food and household supplies. Luckily we have a direct line to the health experts, our contacts at Overlook Hospital Community Health. Their first advice? Don’t panic. Their second advice? Go ahead and get supplies.
Separation looks a lot like love. In addition to stockpiling pantry goods and cleaning supplies for GRACE shoppers, we knew we had to change everything about how we distribute the goods. On a normal Tuesday the main room has tables laden with fresh produce, milk, eggs, and bread. Conversation and laughter usually fill the room while people wait to pick up their necessities. Nowadays our building is closed and we offer the food in whatever way our shoppers feel safest: We developed a contactless drive up option, three early pick up options, a delivery service, all in addition to the person to person walk-up option. In the latter, which is most like our traditional method, the shoppers stand six feet apart lovingly guided by volunteers who keep their distance with chalk art indicating the places in line with motivational notes in Spanish and English.
Give the people what they need when they need it. While people are in quarantine and employment opportunities are scare, GRACE now offers an equal amount of shelf stable food to help stretch the fresh food we are known to provide. We always pride ourselves on giving what money cannot buy. These days that means that every week we spread our love for the community by giving out toilet paper, Clorox wipes, hand soap, and keeping our distance.
Fresh, nutritious food, household necessities, and safe space. Nothing is too good for the GRACE shoppers!
About the Grantee
GRACE meets the Summit community’s needs with community resources. We are most known for our weekly fresh food pantry called GRACE’s Refrigerator where members of the community come together, receive medical screenings and health education, fitness classes, and cultural enrichment.