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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Area Food Bank extends service to non-clients

by Sylene Argent With demand on food distribution services expected to increase as many individuals are experiencing temporary pauses in employment due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Essex Area Food Bank has prepared to extend its service to include non-clients.   Lonnie Jones, a volunteer Board Member, said those in need due to the Coronavirus pandemic do not need to be registered with the Essex Area Food Bank, they can just provide their name, phone number, and address at its facility, which is now located in the basement of Essex United Church.   “Come to us, we are pleased to help,” Jones said.   Jones said the local food bank, fortunately, has the resources to put food on the tables of additional families and individuals in this time of need. As of yet, an increase in individuals being served, due to layoffs during the COVID-19 emergency, has not been noticed.   Some individuals experiencing sudden hardships due to the current pandemic may not know where to turn for the essentials, and Jones said the volunteers at the Essex Area Food Bank are pleased to help.   With the Essex and surrounding community being of a generous nature, Jones said the Essex Area Food Bank has been getting a lot of support in the form of donations that is above and beyond the norm. Financial donations made to the food bank allow the volunteers to purchase needed items.      With the emergency ongoing, the Essex Area Food Bank has changed it hours of operation to 8:30 am to 11:45 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   Additional safety measures have been put in place for clients and volunteers, Jones added. Currently, those utilizing the service are coming in the side door, but do not enter the facility. Volunteers are not making contact with those utilizing the service. The clients let the volunteers know what is needed, beyond what is inside the basic grocery pack. The volunteers put the items together, then leave it for safe pick-up. In the future, the food bank may change this system in favour of an outdoor drive-through system.   Those, such as seniors, who need to utilize the Essex Area Food Bank, but can not pick-up their items, are urged to call the volunteers at 519-800-2340 to see if a special arrangement can be made. Volunteers may also be able to give direction on how that individual could find someone trustworthy to help. For instance, a friend or family member can pick-up the items for them.

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