GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Previously Kent County Community Action Opening a food distribution event on Thursday morning at their offices on Wealthy Street, dozens of cars lined up on Jefferson Avenue. Some were already in the parking lot with open suitcases.
“We’re shooting for 900 households,” said Susan Cervantes, director of KCCA. “And, we’ve averaged that for the last four distributions we’ve had.”
As soon as 9 a.m., vehicles drive to the central doors, one by one, where workers and volunteers carry large boxes of food to the door and their luggage or rear seats.
“We have fresh apples and pears. We had frozen hamburger patties, pork loin, and pork chops. We have canned food, like peas and corn, “said Cervantes. “Then there’s some elbow macaroni, some sauce, some juice.”
Cervantes said each box was worth between $ 75- $ 90. This was meant for people to put together as a meal or to supplement any meal they may already have at home.
“It means a lot because it is difficult to get food,” said Winona Gray, who was one of the first riders to receive a box. “It helps people who donate. Otherwise, we probably won’t have enough money to eat for a month. “
Since the pandemic broke out in March 2019, many families have experienced food insecurity and hunger, said Cervantes. The pandemic and subsequent closings and lulls have caused widespread job losses and difficult times for many.
“Very hard. Very loud Mom,” said Ken Stokes when asked how the last few months have been for him. “I mean I just hope everyone enjoys this and then things get back to normal and we can carry on from there.”
Cervantes added that it can be embarrassing for people experiencing food insecurity to seek help. However, she was pleased that Kent County Community Action was busy all morning, handing out food to anyone passing.
“That’s why we are here. We are here to help, “said Cervantes. “What we feel with all of our services, not just food distribution, is that we have resources to help you. So let us help you and then you can use your resources to fill in your blanks. “