By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer
In order to stop the spread of Covid-19, more popularly known as, the Coronavirus, Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio, issued a “Stay at Home” order which went into effect on March 23, 2020, and was recently extended on April 6 until May 1.
Businesses and organizations that weren’t essential in helping maintain life, or at keep the economy flowing, were ordered to close. Gyms, libraries, schools, malls, as well as, indoor dining at restaurants, all had to close their doors. Grocery stores were overrun by people who removed everything from the shelves, including toilet paper, leaving no sign of those items ever existing.
One population of people most vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 are seniors. Many them were either afraid to leave their homes, because they didn’t want to be infected by the disease, or had no way to get to the stores, to compete with the hoard of people trying to buy everything in sight, had no transportation.
Grace Community Center, 406 W. Delaware, under the leadership of Elaine Page, executive director, and in partnership with Toledo Public Schools, and Connecting Kids to Meals, began to mount up an offensive plan to not only help those seniors, but children, and anyone in need.
“We served as a food pantry two days a week, prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus,” she told The Toledo Journal. “But now, we distribute food five days a week in order to meet people’s needs,” Ms. Page said.
An average of 50 cases of food a day is distributed to families, who consist of five to six people, on average, per day, she said. The staff, who wear face masks, and protective gloves, even load up a van to distribute to elderly people in the area, who can’t leave their homes.
“People have forgotten that many seniors can’t leave their home, because they’re one of the main populations of people most at risk of catching the virus. Also, many of them don’t have anyone to help them, and that’s where we come in,” Ms. Page explained.
She also pointed out that since the schools are closed, many children can no longer count on the breakfast and lunch they were receiving from school.
“We also have grab, and go meals for children 18 and under, to make sure they don’t go hungry,” Ms. Page said.
She relayed a recent encounter with a parent that brought tears to her eyes. “We’ve had parents, and children express fear about not having food. A mother and her seven children, all stair step, were recently here. The mom said all she wanted was to make sure her children had something to eat; she wasn’t even concerned about herself. I was so moved to tears that I wanted to just hug her, but I couldn’t, because of social distancing. I told her, she can eat too, and not to worry.”
Ms. Page wants businesses or individuals to know that they are in need of funds to continue to meet the high demand of keeping people fed. Anyone wishing to make a monetary contribution to the Grace Community Center can visit ggctoledo.org or call 419.248.2467.
Any senior in need of food delivery can call 419.248.2467.
Food is distributed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Children, 18 and under, can also get a grab and go meal Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until 1p.m.