Last time I wrote, I mentioned that I thought the most we could do in the midst of this COVID crisis was to be patient and to shelter-in-place. While I still believe that to be true, I am–like many others–beginning to feel claustrophobic, confined, and helpless. On the news, I hear of the many protests against our quarantines, and while I don’t agree with all of the points being made, I can identify with how these people feel. I am not ready to break restrictions, but our Maryland governor has just told us he will be extending them for an indefinite length of time: Brad and I, in the highest risk pool because of our age and his diabetes, will be in Phase III, the last group to be freed from what I call “house arrest–” and so we will remain at home for quite some time to come.
However, I did recently come upon another activity that can help others during this solitary time. The Maryland Food Bank. This organization gives food to those in need, often those who have no other way to put a meal on the table. Even before the disease struck, nearly 1.5 million people here struggled to feed their families. Now, because of further widespread unemployment, the cessation of school and public services, these households are finding it impossible to feed their loved ones. To lose your paycheck often means the difference between going to a supermarket or going to a food pantry.
Food pantries across the U.S. are having terrible difficulties providing enough food to the needy, and as people become more strapped, donations fall. Food itself is getting more expensive and harder to find. It’s not just toilet paper that’s in short supply.
The Maryland Food Bank–like others, I assume–has increased its supply of “Grab and Go Meals” for children who would otherwise eat at school, as well as stocking more “Back Up Boxes” of non-perishable supplies. And now, “Pantry on The Go” distribution sites have been transformed into safe “Drive Throughs.”
There are undoubtedly several food pantries in your area, all of whom need volunteers or donations. It doesn’t cost much to give a “Back Up Box,” or to help out kids who can no longer eat at school with “Grab and Go Meals.” Recently, I investigated volunteering at a local Food Pantry, but wasn’t eligible because of my age. Instead, I have given two “Back Up Boxes” to my hungry neighbors, to whom I want to say, “Don’t feel alone.”
In my last newsletter I pointed out that by hunkering down in our homes we were doing a great service to those around us. As I write this letter, I am reminded of my own words then about how our families and our neighbors are depending upon us. Please remember now–regardless of where you live–that there are those nearby who are in need. Make it a priority to reach out to them. Without a doubt, we can all afford a donation to their cause, however small it may be. All you need to do is to google your state or town’s “Food Bank.” They are waiting for your call.