Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry & Community Garden is prepared for uptick in pantry guests seeking nutrition support this season.
Related Pantry News: COVID-10 PREVENTION, ACTION PLAN & UPDATE 3/18/2020
Letter from Marie’s Pantry Leaders:
The leadership at Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry & Community Garden would like to express gratitude (as well as concern) during this challenging time, and update the community on our strategic response to the threat of COVID-19. The World Health Organization declared this type of coronavirus a pandemic last week.
First and foremost, each of YOU (readers) are an important part of our community.
Please keep yourself and your family healthy, well-rested, and well-nourished in the weeks ahead.
Building a foundation for healthy immune systems in our community. That’s the goal each day. As part of our extended family, your health and well-being matters to all of us. We are all in this together!
Marie’s Pantry leaders and hardcore volunteers sprang into action upon learning the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was discovered in Kane County last week. Time tested skills from decades of emergency response training were put into practice, with guidance and support from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
- We are not panicking.
- We are well prepared with plenty of resources.
- We have excellent precautionary procedures in place.
- We will continue to adapt as new challenges arise.
- We will stay open for service with regular weekly food sharing times.
SUPPORT FOR RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED & UNDEREMPLOYED
Events like this test the very foundations of community networks. As you know, our job is to help our most vulnerable community members, each and every day.
In particular, our thoughts go out to friends and neighbors in the food service and entertainment industries, as well as school district service providers. Many are reeling with shock from the news that their places of employment and/or business partnerships have shut down, or remain open with very limited staff in the weeks ahead.
Marie’s Pantry friends and family wants everyone to know – we see you, we are here for you, and there is enough food for everyone to share. We’ll all get through this, together.
NEW PRECAUTIONS & PROCESSES
Marie’s Pantry has tested new security protocols to minimize gathering in groups and also to minimize person-to-person contact touchpoints. Days before the new mandate to keep gatherings under 10 people, a 7 guest maximum in food selection areas was put into effect. New procedures are being fine tuned, with preparation for the next 3 food sharing opportunities coming each Wednesday (12 – 2 PM), Friday (1 – 4 PM) and Saturday (8:30 – 11 AM).
As pantry guests have unique dietary needs, care has been taken to continue providing ample choices in the grocery selection process. Maintaining elements of our ‘client choice’ model minimizes waste of precious food supplies. ‘You Touch, You Take!’ is the new motto. A portion of dry goods and produce have been pre-package to minimize ‘touch points’. Logistics factors like these are important to keep in balance so no food is wasted.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR SENIORS
Collaboration with neighbors at VNA Healthcare is providing nutritional insights to help boost immunity for vulnerable populations, like our cherished senior friends and family. Strategic nutrition education initiatives are guiding our food selections for guests most in need of support.
On Wednesdays from 12 – 2 PM, Marie’s West Pantry at 834 N. Highland Ave has a special distribution to serve seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities.
SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
Close coordination with leaders at Aurora’s West and East School Districts will ensure no child will go hungry in the weeks ahead.
Although schools are closed, Marie’s East Pantry Saturday 8:30 – 11 AM food sharing service will continue without interruption. Parking is located at the rear of East High, Door #33, off Smith Ave.
Sincere thanks to pantry guests and volunteers this past week. Guests demonstrated patience with many new procedural changes designed with the health and safety of guests and volunteers in mind. Many guests mentioned they appreciated the new measures, and said they felt very well taken care of.
We know how deeply our community of support cares for those who rely on Marie’s Pantry services for nutrition. Be assured that pantry leadership is doing everything possible to protect and serve vulnerable individuals and families who rely on our care and provision. This Women’s History Month, we are proud to carry on Marie Wilkinson’s legacy of nourishing Aurora’s neighbors in times of need, for 63 years and counting!
For anyone wishing to donate to help replenish supplies, please visit www.mariewilkinsonfoodpanty.org/donate
–Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry & Community Garden