New Salem Church Bread of Life Food Pantry Weathers the Coronavirus Pandemic Storm; feeding 200+ per week
Community Food Pantry restructures distribution process to keep volunteers and clients safe; relying on donations and goodwill to keep the doors open
COLUMBUS (Ohio) – The small tan house next door to New Salem Baptist Church’s main parking lot is like any other house on Agler Road in Linden. But inside, it’s bustling with volunteers – wearing face masks and gloves, practicing social distancing, sorting food, and preparing boxes for those who need it the most.
Just two months ago, the Bread of Life Food Pantry was a place where the community was welcomed inside the doors: The environment full of conversation, music, and laughter, one could find a pat on the back, a hug, a word of inspiration or all three.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that.
Now, cars line up in the church’s parking lot, people phone in their orders, volunteers bring a box of food and other necessary household items out to the car, and then they drive away to make room for the next car.
The Bread of Life Food Pantry, run by the Community of Caring Development Foundation, New Salem’s non-profit arm, and St. Stephen’s Community House, are the two largest food pantries in Linden and among the few still open since the onset of the pandemic. Each organization is currently struggling to meet demand and predict increased strain on resources through Ohio’s May 1, 2020 Stay-at-Home Order. The church’s food pantry services more than 200 people per week.
“We are doing our best not to let COVID-19 stop the church from carrying out its mission, and that’s to feed as many families as possible – mind, body, and soul,” said Adam Troy, Director of Missions and Chief Engagement Officer of the Community of Caring Development Foundation. The Bread of Life Food Pantry doors have been open to the Linden community for nearly three decades.
“We had to make some adjustments to our distribution process, recognizing that these are hard times for many families in our Linden community and we’re here to do our part. We are thankful for our volunteers who work tirelessly and our members who continue to provide the resources to make this happen.”
That said, Troy sees the line of cars in the parking lot growing longer each week.
Linden residents felt the freefall from the COVID-19 pandemic before most Ohioans as Linden-based restaurant and hospitality workers began losing income on March 5, 2020, when Governor DeWine prohibited spectators and exhibitors from attending a major sporting event in Columbus that draws over 80,000 people from around the world. On March 15th, bars and restaurants across the State officially closed, schools closed on March 16th, and more closures followed until the State issued a stay-at-home order on March 22nd.
Nearly 60% of employed Linden residents work low-wage service industry jobs, and 58% of neighborhood residents are housing cost-burdened. Additionally, 38%+ of all households in Linden include children, who are typically fed at school. The loss of income for many residents has exacerbated tenuous housing situations and heightened families’ food insecurity.
“The area’s food insecurity and housing instability are sure to intensify during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath,” Troy said. “We remain faithful and will continue to be a resource people can depend on. It’s important that we are there for our neighbors in these challenging times.”
Contact: Karla Thornhill Coleman, 248.978.3280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bread of Life Food Pantry
The Bread of Life Food Pantry is working hard to meet the critical need for food during the COVID-19 Crisis. For more information, go to https://church.newsalemcares.org/content/food-pantry. CLIENTS MUST SCHEDULE their future appointments at the Bread of Life Food Pantry as followed:
- Phone: 614-341-2282
- Text: 614-702-7772
- Online: www.handsoncentralohio.org/chat
You can help to support the Bread of Life Food Pantry by giving a Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.donation online at https://callingallconnectors.org/donations/give/. The food pantry is also in need of volunteers on Wednesdays from 5:00-7:00 pm, and Fridays 10:00-12:00 pm. Volunteers assist with food selection, stock pantry shelves and bring groceries to cars. Fridays are especially in need of male presence and muscle! Sign up to volunteer HERE. Contact Adam Troy at (614) 267-2536 with any questions.
Community of Caring Development Foundation (CCD Foundation)
As the Community and Economic Development Arm of New Salem Baptist Church, The Community of Caring Development Foundation (CCD Foundation), 2956 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, OH 43224, has planted seeds of hope and health in Linden and witnessed what can be accomplished when neighbors join together to create a connected community. Over the last three years, we have continued our commitment to investing in the lives of individuals and families by providing access to affordable housing for more than 1,000 families, over 300,000 meals, $20,000 in community grants and more than $70,000 in academic scholarship awards. We are proud to call the Linden community HOME!