Helping the hungry in unprecedented times

Pantry creates ‘safe’ ways to pick up food, donate
COVINGTON, Ky. - As the contagious COVID-19 spreads across the nation, Covington’s largest pantry has two challenges getting food to people who desperately need it: 
  • Making sure it has food to give.
  • Getting that food in the people’s hands while protecting the health of recipients, staff, and volunteers. 
Be Concerned: The People’s Pantry is addressing both challenges with an appeal that allows donations online or by mail and with a creative new food-distribution model that limits face-to-face contact.
“Our slogan has always been ‘do more, for more, with more’ - now we’re trying to do that with fewer bodies in the building,” said Andy Brunsman, executive director of Be Concerned. “We don’t want people to make the hard choice between eating and their physical safety. We’re going to give away every ounce of food we have until we have nothing left. That’s our plan.”
To donate to Be Concerned, you can mail a check to 1100 Pike St., Covington, KY 41011. Or you can look at its Amazon wishlist - HERE - and buy food items to be delivered.
Tuesday afternoon, the pantry canceled front-desk shifts at its main waiting room on Pike Street, and began distributing food “old-school, car-hop style” in its parking lot, Brunsman said.
Drivers pulled up, were handed a “menu” to order from, and then volunteers filled the order and carried food (such as canned goods, dry goods, meat and produce) to the cars.
Close to 50 families were served in the parking lot during a few hours late Tuesday afternoon, he said.
Special accommodations are being made for clients who walk in or come by bus, Brunsman said. They sit spaced far apart in the waiting area while their orders are made an immediate priority.
If you’re not a regular client of Be Concerned, you should call (859) 291-6789 to make an appointment.
“If you need food, just call because we’re going to be very flexible and creative in making sure you get some,” he said.
Be Concerned is also in need of volunteers, but those have to be carefully scheduled, Brunsman said, and it’s taking a while. To volunteer, send the agency a Facebook message @beconcerned and “be patient while we figure things out,” he said.
The agency also has closed its attached thrift stores.
During its Christmas pantry last December alone, Be Concerned served food to 1,400 families.
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