LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — You can have a big warehouse, an enthusiastic staff and racks and racks packed to the ceiling with food, but it means nothing if you cant get it to the people who need it most.
The senior box program at Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio has been around since 2014. Roughly 1,800 boxes are distributed each month to seniors who would either pick up a box at the hub or from a community partner agency. But the pandemic changed all that.
So second harvest with help from the National Guard began delivering boxes to seniors across four counties who just couldn’t get out to get one. But the Guard is gone now and volunteers have stepped up.
Johnathan and Susan Almond retired to Lorain county a few ago, and they knew that they didn’t want to just kick back. So at least once a month they load up their car and follow a route that takes them around Lorain.
It’s a service a lot of people need for many different reason.
Rachel Goodwin is a newcomer to the box program, and at 77, Goodwin says she doesn’t move as well as she used to. Even though her daughter helps her, going to a store especially in the middle of a pandemic is problematic.
“It’s always full of people you get to walking and walking and doing all that, so I stay at home a lot,” Goodwin said.
And she’s not the only person staying at home.
Kathy Luca’s garden shows the vivid colors that come with the care and time she spends at home.
“This is my peaceful place it gives me peace of mind it’s my escape time and that’s important,” Luca said.
She’s the round-the-clock caregiver of a son who has MS and he just can’t be out among people and risk exposure to COVID-19. But even before the pandemic, time away to get groceries was hard to come by. And these deliveries help ease her through her always tough days.
“I can’t get out of the house very often so having this delivered to me and having food access available is very important,” Luca said.
Thelma Vopata lives in a senior apartment in Lorain. Friends will take her to church and other places and she looks at the food bank as a part of that network of friends who are willing to help. She says she gets the deliveries because not only does it keep her a little closer to home, It helps stretch the budget a bit.
“It might be a bill that you have to pay and that right there helps you save money because you have extra finances on hand,” Vopata said.
Everyone needs food for different reasons and for the Almonds this why it’s so important for them to volunteer. It’s not about the time it takes, but what it takes to help people just like them.
“There’s no defining of need is invisible and this is a tangible way to reach out to an invisible but tangible need,” Susan Almond said.
Currently the food bank delivers to roughly 60 seniors a month, but they know that many more could use more of this kind of help and all it would take is someone like the Almonds who are willing to spend a little time on the road.