As uncertainty looms around the novel coronavirus, Allen's needy families still look to services like Allen Community Outreach (ACO) and the Allen Ministerial Alliance to help them through hard times.
ACO CEO Marjorie Vaneskahian Burr said the organization has already seen an increase in demand, and leaders expect that rise to continue as residents' income is compromised due to closures and decreased business.
To keep their focus on emergency services only, all three resale stores are closed for the time being, and the staff are being cross-trained to provide help on the emergency side.
"Our focus at this time is on emergency assistance for financial aid with rent and utilities and with food," she said. "Non-emergency services are on hold. All of our time and focus is on immediate relief for our clients."
In order to practice safe "social distancing," ACO volunteers and staff are serving as many families as possible by phone and email to avoid the need for an office visit. Additionally, grocery distribution is being done by “bag method” versus ACO's normal shopping mode for food choice. Groceries are being prebagged and given at the door or curbside, Vaneskahian Burr said.
Vaneskahian Burr said ACO is in need of food and funds right now.
"Maintaining a stock of canned and dry goods, meats and proteins, produce and dairy are all in jeopardy with donations down from our community partners," she said. "We need food donations at our pantry. Financial gifts are what will make it possible to continue to keep our services available to those most vulnerable. Now is the time for our community to give with their hearts and share what they have."
A complete list of needs is updated daily at acocares.org.
The Allen Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry - which serves Allen, Fairview and Lucas - said it will continue to operate as usual and are accepting donations at the pantry, 1515 N. Greenville Ave. For information visit allenfoodpantry.org.