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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Loaves & Fishes: Extraordinary Times


Who could have known even a few weeks ago what extraordinary times we would be facing? The simplest of gatherings are a fond memory now as we “shelter in place.” Only the most essential of errands are approved. One of those approved errands is to the grocery store where the lines found most people’s carts heaped with food and household products. A grocery store employee told me many orders were $500-600.

But as so many were panic buying, there were still others who could only dream of such purchases. Families struggling with poverty or low-income are those who are most likely to be impacted by the deteriorating economics of the COVID-19 situation. At Loaves & Fishes, we wondered, too, how we would be able to meet the growing need for services and keep clients, volunteers and staff safe, too.

But everyone stepped up and stepped up mightily. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes when I think of the many kindnesses that have come our way. With so many people’s help, we were able to modify our food distribution so we could offer curbside grocery pick-up. Volunteers made monumental adjustments in our process so we could still pack food yet remain a safe social distance from one another.

As our usual food supplies have greatly diminished, we are having to purchase more food. People from near and far are contributing and generously participating in our virtual food drive so we can continue to serve an ever-increasing number of families.

As we carefully and thankfully watch generosity in motion and see volunteers who will do anything to help, we marvel. We marvel at a community in the midst of a global crisis that puts those who most need help first. That is what is extraordinary, and we are absolutely in awe.

Publisher’s Note / The monthly deadline for stories published by contributing columnists is the 20th of the month prior to print publication. This story appears in the April issue of PN, now available at local supermarkets. Columns are published in rotation a few at a time on different days throughout the month. Thanks for reading in print monthly and online daily.

Nancy Wiersum
Nancy Wiersumhttp://www.loaves-fishes.org/
Nancy Wiersum is Vice President of Advancement at Loaves & Fishes Community Services and can be contacted at nwiersum@loaves-fishes.org. Visit www.loaves-fishes.org for more information.