Whirlpool Corporation has made a donation to a special United Way fund that’s helping food pantries with the increased traffic they are seeing due to the Coronavirus. One of those food pantries is run by Harbor of Hope Church in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
“When COVID-19 hit our community, we felt committed to remain open,” said Whirlpool Corporation employee and Co-Executive Director of the pantry, Rosa Hires. “We had to change our procedures to keep our volunteers and clients safe, however, and now offer curbside, no-contact service. As with most of the world, we’ve had to become very agile with a learn-as-you-go approach. We didn’t know if we would have fewer clients because of the stay-at-home orders, or if we’d have the average number.”
They soon had their answer. The first day after the crisis began, traffic at the pantry shot up from the average of 70-100 families served to 170. On Easter Sunday, the numbers were closer to 200. The food pantry is also taking in overflow from the local Boys and Girls Club families that are relying on the club to provide breakfast and lunch and responding to emergency food requests rolling in from the United Way 211 line. It’s an unprecedented situation for many community service organizations.
“One client shared with me that she just has no way of feeding her five children three meals a day as a single mom now that they are out of school and she has just lost her job,” explained Hires.
The food pantry isn’t alone, thankfully. They’ve been receiving help during this difficult time.
Whirlpool Corporation employees made personal donations too
“Love and support continues to pour in from our friends, colleagues and community,” said Hires. “We continue to receive donations and grants. We receive food from the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency and Feeding America. Kids Kollection donated the candy from their store when they had to close down. Whirlpool Corporation employees have made personal donations of funds, soaps, masks and many other supplies that we are grateful for.”
The current situation has translated into record numbers for the food pantry, but their mission, drive and positive message hasn’t changed one bit, explained Hires.
“The masks may hide our faces, but they don’t hide the hope, joy and peace that we provide the community as we serve food, and pray with our clients to help ease their anxieties and fear.”