Food Bank to host drive-thru distributions to address increased demand of Covid-19
Sikeston, MO — Southeast Missouri Food Bank has seen a tremendous increase in the demand for food following temporary layoffs and school closures following the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Other places may be cutting back on their work hours or working from home, but at the food bank, we’re busier than ever,” said food bank Chief Executive Officer Joey Keys. “Many retailers are closed, the two casinos in our area are closed, restaurants are limiting their service to drive-through or delivery only, and schools are not in session. It’s not surprising that as more people are temporarily out of work or seeing reduced hours – especially those in lower income brackets – they’re going to need food assistance.”
To respond to that need, the food bank will begin offering Covid-19 Response Mobile food distributions throughout its 16-county service area. The initial distributions will be held:
• 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, at the 5th and 6th Grade Center, 100 Twitty Street, Sikeston
• 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, Ely Baptist Church, 1215 Church Street, Kennett
• 5 p.m. Thursday, March 26, Red Star Pantry, 1316 North Main, Cape Girardeau.
“People who need food assistance should attend only the mobile held in the county where they live,” Keys said. “They should have a photo ID and a piece of mail that shows proof of residence. To make sure we’re practicing social distancing, these will be drive-through food distributions. People should stay in their vehicle but have a space cleared for a box of food. We ask that you visit only one mobile per month and receive only one box per household.
Additional mobile distributions will be scheduled throughout southeast Missouri in the coming weeks. The times, dates and locations of the Covid-19 Response Mobiles will be posted on the food bank’s Facebook page and its website at semofoodbank.org.
Five other mobile food pantries held in conjunction with food bank partners are also scheduled during the week of March 23. Locations and dates for those mobiles can be found on the food bank’s website. Click on Programs and Mobile Food Pantry.
People who need food assistance also may visit the Pantry Locator page on the website and search by county for the dates and times of operations for the pantry nearest where they live. The food bank also can help with applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/formerly food stamps) for those who are recently unemployed or have had changes to their income. For SNAP application assistance, call Lindsey Kern at 573-475-7573.
The food bank is continuing distribution of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which are monthly boxes of food for senior citizens. The organization distributes 5,000 senior boxes each month.
“Because we serve some of southeast Missouri’s most vulnerable populations, we’re stepping up cleaning and sanitizing throughout our distribution center and screening volunteers to make sure no one has any symptoms such as fever and coughing, haven’t been around anyone suspected of having Covid-19, and haven’t traveled out of the United States or to areas that have had an abundance of coronavirus cases in the past few weeks,” Keys said. “We’ve advised our member pantries to switch their regular food distributions to drive-through distributions to limit contact.”
Just as regular shoppers have had a hard time finding groceries on the shelf, Southeast Missouri Food Bank is seeing limited supplies of food and increased prices. Retail donations also are down as grocers see increased demand from consumers.
“We’re facing higher prices and limited quantities too so now more than ever, we could use the public’s help,” Keys said. “If someone wants to help with Covid-19 response, one of the best things they can do is donate because we can stretch a dollar to provide four meals.”
Donations can be made online at semofoodbank.org, click on the “Donate” tab.