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Food pantry yet to see significant change

By: Ora Nelson

Even though food pantries across the nation are struggling to keep up with the increase of requests, the Andalusia Christian Service Center (CSC) has yet to see a significant change.

The Feeding America network has advised all food banks and pantries to build an inventory of emergency food boxes if capable of doing so in response to the impact of COVID-19 on local communities.

“We haven’t had an influx of requests, but we’re prepared for them [requests] when they come,” said Leroy Cole, director of Community Ministries for the Covington Baptist Association.

The CSC is distributing around 1500 pounds of food per week to people in Covington County as of now. They distributed almost 400,000 pounds of food to those in need within Covington County last year and are now working with the community’s best interests in mind.

“We’re being very careful,” said Cole. “We’ve changed the way we’re distributing—we’re serving with only six seats.”

“Food distributed from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is restricted by who meets its qualifications, but donated food is unrestricted,” said Cole.

Eligibility for help from the USDA is based on income.

“Although we’re getting food from the Central Gulf Coast USDA’s food distribution programs, we don’t have any on the donation side,” said Cole.

People can just pick up a can or two whenever they do their normal grocery shopping. Non-perishable food is the best thing to donate: cans of food, rice, dried goods, canned meat, etc.”

Cole encourages people—especially students or people within the community that now have more time available—to volunteer.

“A lot of volunteers are over the age of 60 and are choosing to stay at home due to the virus [COVID-19],” said Cole.

The CSC can be reached at 334-222-3840 for any questions or about donations.