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Serving needs: Food kitchens have adapted and responded during the COVID-19 crisis Local News | Instant News


WARSAW – It’s bitter.

If you run a soup kitchen, you can’t wait to help other people. But with the arrival of the COVID-19 outbreak locally in March 2020, the number of people seeking help has increased dramatically.

Family. Retired. The people suddenly find themselves unemployed and struggling amidst statewide closures and isolation orders.

One year later, the numbers began to decrease slightly in some areas. And the kitchen has the opportunity to reflect on that experience.

“This is one of those bittersweet things that you don’t need to know that this type of service is being used in an increasing way … This is one of the things we are happy to provide to the community, but when it is used up, it means food insecurity is gone. exhausted, ”said Pastor Katrina Macaluso of the United Church of Warsaw. “As a pastor it’s not something you feel good about. We are happy to be of service to society, but it pains us to know that there is a need. “

The Warsaw Unity Church has offered durable soup kitchens for about 30 years. This is a fully stocked operation located downstairs, staffed by a large group of dedicated volunteers.

It saw a sudden spike in demand after the pandemic hit.

“Our numbers have indeed increased,” said Cindy Kiel, director of the pantry. “It was a bit scary at first, right when COVID hit and everything was closed, because at that time, we had about 36 cans of vegetables on our shelves.

“We have other food too, but with canned vegetables there are only about 36,” he continued. “And with the supply chain, we’re limited in what we can buy in the store and what FoodLink provides us with.”

So the church and its kitchen issued a plea via social media and other churches detailing emergency needs – asking people to go to the store and buy two cans of vegetables to help replenish supplies.

“This got us started again, so that our shelves had more stuff,” he said. “Foodlink can also get some supplies, and we can order from Foodlink.”

Use of soup kitchens tends to fluctuate depending on what people need, says Kiel. The Warsaw United Church has served about 400 people every month since March 2020.

The church’s food kitchen has also served 154 new families during the 12-month period from March to March.

The actual number decreased in February but demand is still there.

“The numbers have gone down, and I think there are several variables,” said Kiel. “Foodlink and the Wyoming County Department of Health work well together to have soup kitchens held once a week in Arcade, Perry, Warsaw, and Attica.”

The expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has also helped reduce demand, along with federal stimulus checks, and people returning to work when the economy reopens.

A similar situation exists in other food kitchens throughout the GLOW area.

Faith Smith, volunteer director of Community Kitchen at Christ Church in Albion, says the normal annual share is around 8,000 to 9,000 meals, but for the whole of 2020 they do more than 19,000 meals and bags. During the pandemic, he served ready meals from parking lots, as well as offering bags of whatever people needed.

“There are nights we run out of food and people wait 40 minutes just to cook more food,” says Smith.

With the coronavirus pandemic underway, it’s also been a busy year for the Geneseo-Groveland Food Pantry.

“It was tough at first when the supply chain was a little crazy,” said manager Deb MacLean.

From canned food to household goods, the necessities are there but getting the products to people who need them, he said, was a bit difficult at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

“Between Foodlink and Wegmans – they really helped us as far as helping us get the things we needed,” said MacLean.

Across the area, Foodlink is helping with contactless food distribution distributing 25 pound boxes of food to people in need. Initially, pre-registration was necessary, but later, as the pandemic continued, it developed into a first-come, first-come, distribution. With cars stopping at different places, as the volunteers climbed in to load food boxes in their luggage.

For MacLean and his staff, the pandemic has also changed the way pantry is fed.

“It doesn’t seem to change what people need,” he said. “When we’re open to a client’s preferred model, that’s where people can come in and choose what they want, they have a wider choice of non-food items like toilet products or laundry soap.”

With a pandemic, people can’t do that, said MacLean. Instead, they had to drive and get their pre-packaged food bags.

The staff at the Avon Food Pantry have also had to change the way they are fed.

“Our kitchens are the client’s choice and are set up like supermarkets,” said Director Jennifer Palmer. “With a pandemic, we have to change it and they have to call first to get packaged food. We’ll ask them over the phone what they want, while still giving them the choice and then deliver the food to the client. “

That’s something, the staff said, has worked well, even though they admit they miss the things they used to be.

“We hope to reopen because there is nothing better than seeing people come and get the food they need according to their diet,” Palmer said.

Apart from delivering food to clients, the staff also have a community distribution outside and sometimes serve more than 300 families.

“We get a lot of donations from the community,” said Palmer. “The local farmers have contributed so much.”

Service has also improved at the Geneseo-Groveland Food Pantry.

“We are up 35 percent for the year for the number of households and 31 percent for the number of individuals,” said MacLean.

Community support has been key.

The Warsaw United Church Pantry prides itself on treating everyone with dignity and respect, said Kiel. During the crisis, he encountered people who commented that they usually donated to soup kitchens and never expected them to need to use them themselves.

“That’s for various reasons too,” he said. “We are seeing an increase in the number of elderly people who come to soup kitchens. I think part of it is they may have eaten with their families and belongings and (now) their families are moving away from them. “

In other cases, parents lose their jobs, or children suddenly lose access to school meals.

Demand for home delivery has also increased – Kiel and Macaluso said they were lucky the kitchen was able to stay open during the crisis.

Pantry modified its operations to carry multiple items up for distance and security protocols, Kiel said. It also updates its order form daily, so people have several choices among healthy products.

Pantry also received support when the news spread on social media, including from outside the region.

“We were very blessed with money and gift cards and food donations,” said Kiel. “They come almost every day. We really appreciate that. “

And although the situation has improved somewhat, the need remains – as in the Community Kitchen in Christ Church.

“The soup kitchen is still badly needed, but we don’t serve 400 meals a week,” Smith said. We eat out about 150 times a week. But we still offer extra items if someone arrives or needs something. “

He said Community Kitchen is not funded by anyone nor is it part of Foodlink or any other organization, even though they do get a United Way food grant once a year. In addition, they rely on donations from the community.

Smith said if it weren’t for community support, they could never have remained open.

So the food pantry and its volunteers continue to provide in the era of the ongoing pandemic.

“We are a team and we are very proud to help those in need,” said Kiel.

(Includes reporting by Brendan McDonough, Matt Surtel and Mallory Diefenbach.)

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Vegan Soul Food? One Couple Has It in a Food Truck | Instant News


CINCINNATI – They were afraid of health to do so, but one couple who became vegan changed their lifestyle and opened a food truck.


What you need to know

  • Jamaal and List Kelly opened a “Vegan Treats, Meats, and Eats” food truck in Cincinnati in January
  • They make food with only plant-based products and use flavorings to make it look like comforting and refreshing food
  • They plan to open more food trucks and go to underserved areas

It may look like macaroni and chicken wings, but what’s in them, or what’s not in them, is what Jamaal Kelly says helped her lose 70 pounds in three months, but not exactly on purpose.

“I don’t want to be vegan. I had a few health problems, and my wife threw away all the food, and when I came home from the hospital, we became vegan, ”said Jamaal.

His wife, Lisa Kelly, still prepares all the healthy meals, but not just for him.

“After we eat all our food, people ask us, how do you make this? How do you make it? How did you all lose so much weight? And that’s when the food truck appeared, “he said.

The couple opened “Vegan Food, Meat and Food” this year, a vegan food truck in Cincinnati.

“Everything we got, everyone swore it wasn’t vegan,” said Jamaal.

But the culinary-trained chef says what he makes has no meat, only plants he makes to look like comfort food.

“I use basic Gardein meat, but then I also do my own little thing with it. I marinate it, and I bread it. I shake it, “he said.

He wouldn’t tell a secret taste, but it did attract people to the area in the city where they set up shop.

He said their goal is to start more vegan food trucks and go to areas where healthier cooked food is harder to come by.

“I want to be able to give to people. It’s not just about giving to people who can afford food, ”said Jamaal.

This was after he said healthy eating changed his life.

“The doctor said I don’t need to come back and don’t need to take any medicine. Everything else is just a blessing, ”said Jamaal.

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Cincinnati Uses Food Mapping to Improve Food Access | Instant News


CINCINNATI – A handful of chickens strutting the lawn easily become Paper Street Farm diva. On Thursday morning, they ate the remains of water spinach planted 50 meters from their cages in the hope that the tourists would return the favor with a dozen fresh farm eggs in the afternoon.

Mike Obrest is the owner and caretaker in addition to managing the gardens that grow around his property. It’s open to anyone in the neighborhood to rent out a plot of land and reap the benefits of local food that is fresh, healthy, a resource that, until recently, was hard to find near homes.


What you need to know

  • The Sayler Park neighborhood is miles from the nearest grocery store
  • Produce Perks sponsors a food map to increase access to fresh food
  • The map shows what and where food is grown in the environment
  • It also attracted a project to get more food in locally owned shops

Obrest is one of 3,600 residents of Sayler Park, Cincinnati’s westernmost neighborhood.

It is famous for its riverside gardens and paths that wind their way through the hillsides, but the same assets that make the neighborhood unique are also cut off from the rest of the city.

There is only one easy way to get in and out of this neighborhood. It takes about 20 minutes to get to downtown Cincinnati.

This is not the ideal place for large-scale retail, which is why the nearest grocery store is 5 miles away.

Although for Dr. Alan Wight, a professor and community garden liaison at the University of Cincinnati, the neighborhood is a good candidate for one of his food mapping projects.

Part of Ohio Central River Valley Food Guide, Wight is working with the environment to develop this utilitarian piece of art, highlighting community assets.

“They often think about ‘Hey, these are things my environment doesn’t have,’ as opposed to ‘These are things my neighborhood has,'” he said.

The food mapping process changed that thinking, drawing attention to places like Paper Street Farm.

“Mike was involved in at least one of the first two or three meetings before the pandemic hit,” Wight said.

The project started in late 2019 in partnership with Produce Perks and Mercy Health, giving Sayler Park residents time to find out exactly what their neighborhood has to offer.

“On the one hand, it shows people what you can do with a small area and how much food you can actually grow from it,” says Obrest.

The Wight Map also draws attention to foods that are naturally present.

“Once you know what you are doing, this part of the world is filled with papayas, filled with mulberries and black walnuts,” he said.

That part of the process offers those lessons. Wight gives everyone interested a kit to help identify edible foods throughout the environment, providing samples of the leaves, berries and bark that give the plant.

He said that the native food was also the easiest to start growing in any environmental garden.

Wight understands that foraging and gardening cannot be the only options for finding food in your community. The map also highlights man-made assets.

“They listed the restaurant,” he said. “They registered the building. They listed the place, the green space. ”

From there, locals can work with food access organizations to improve what they already have, such as Gracely Food Mart, a neighborhood convenience store.

A recent partnership with Produce Perks, has helped the store expand its refrigeration and add a wider selection of fresh produce.

The project is also increasing interest in developing Paper Street Farm, and adding more such places. The Sayler Park Community Council said the neighborhood hopes to install an orchard at a local school and is working to expand its seasonal farmers market.

As for the map, Wight said they would ride around the neighborhood. He has given it to several local caterers such as Obrest.

He plans to proudly display it on the farm.

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Food kitchens have adapted to meet client needs during the pandemic Public Service News | Instant News


GENESEO – With the coronavirus pandemic underway, it’s been a very busy year for the Geneseo-Groveland Food Pantry.

“It was tough at first when the supply chain was a little crazy,” said manager Deb MacLean.

From canned food to household goods, the necessities are there, but getting the product to the people who need it, MacLean admits, was a bit difficult at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

“Between Foodlink and Wegmans – they really helped us as far as helping us get the things we needed,” said MacLean.

Across the area, Foodlink is helping with contactless food distribution distributing 25 pound boxes of food to people in need. Initially, pre-registration was necessary, but later, as the pandemic continued, it became a first-come, first-come distribution. With cars stopping at different places, as the volunteers climbed in to load food boxes in their luggage.

For MacLean and his staff, the pandemic has also changed the way pantry is fed.

“It doesn’t seem to change what people need,” he said. “When it’s open to a client’s preferred model, that’s where people can come in and choose what they want, they have a wider choice of non-food items like toilet products or laundry soap.”

With the pandemic, MacLean said people couldn’t do that. Instead, they had to drive and get their pre-packaged food bags.

The staff at the Avon Food Pantry have also had to change the way they are fed.

“Our kitchens are the client’s choice and are set up like supermarkets,” said Director Jennifer Palmer. “With a pandemic, we have to change it and they have to call first to get packaged food. We’ll ask them over the phone what they want, while still giving them the choice and then deliver the food to the client. “

That’s something, the staff said, has worked well, even though they admit they miss the things they used to be.

“We hope to reopen because there is nothing better than seeing people come and get the food they need according to their diet,” Palmer said.

Apart from delivering food to clients, the staff also have a community distribution outside and sometimes serve more than 300 families.

“We get a lot of donations from the community,” said Palmer. “The local farmers have contributed so much.”

Service has also improved at the Geneseo-Groveland Food Pantry.

“We are up 35 percent for the year for the number of households and 31 percent for the number of individuals,” said MacLean.

One of the busiest times of the past year has been on vacation.

“The number of families we helped during the holidays went up, like, three times what we did the previous year,” said MacLean.

It hasn’t been an easy year for them, but MacLean says what has helped is the support they’ve received from the community.

“People are very generous, not only with money but also with food donations,” he said. “People are willing to shop for us and people are really moving forward.”

The food kitchen is located at 31 Center St. in Geneseo, on the lower floor of the Central Presbyterian Church. The Pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm and Wednesdays from 4pm to 6.30pm

For MacLean it has been a difficult year, but he says the hardest part is letting people know who they are and what they have to offer.

“We’re just trying to find a way to spread the word that we are here to help people,” said MacLean.

The staff at Avon Food Pantry also try to spread the word to people and tell their clients how much they miss them.

“It’s great to see them and hang out with them,” said Palmer. “We miss them very much.”

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From Karachi to the Bay of Bengal, How the Indian Navy Played a Star Role in the 1971 War | Instant News


The year 1971 was marked by several ‘big wins’ – in politics, cricket and war – all of which had long-term implications for India. The national atmosphere is encouraging, although the country continues to grapple with endemic problems.

Fifty years later, we look back on those moments and evoke that mood. In a series of articleseminent authors remember and analyze major events and processes that left their mark on a young, struggling but hopeful nation.

As a newly minted naval aviator, I greeted the dawn of 1971 with mixed feelings. After a year flying from INS Vikrant, I have been assigned to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for an ‘exchange post’ for two years. I reported to my new squadron, based in Hindon, a thousand kilometers from the sea, feeling like a fish was coming out of the water. My IAF squadron mates, however, gave me a warm welcome and made me feel right at home. Hindon is only half an hour’s drive from Delhi, and although petrol reaches a ‘high’ Rs 1.10 liters, we go into the city a lot.

As time passed in 1971, the chatter in the crew room, invariably, diverged to events in East Pakistan. We watched, initially, with schadenfreude, and then with concern, as Pakistan, torn by political and ethnic differences between the Punjabi-dominated west and the Bengali-dominated east, is marching into civil war. The massive exodus of East Pakistani refugees, has created a social and economic crisis for India, and it is the responsibility of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to devise a grand strategy that will stop the raging genocide of the Pakistani army and reverse the flow of refugees.

Arun Prakash with the Indian Air Force in 1971. Photo credit: Arun Prakash

At midnight on December 4, 1971, we huddled around transistor radios, as Mrs Gandhi put it: I speak to you at a time of great danger… immediately after 5:30 pm on December 3, Pakistan launched a full-scale war against us… Emergency has been declared for all of India. “The next morning, we prepared to hit targets in Pakistan.

The disgrace of 1965

This opening is to explain my absence from the navy, whose role, during the Bangladesh War, I will retell. But the roots of the brilliant 1971 maritime campaign go back to the severe chaos of the Indian Navy (IN) during the 1965 war, when I was at sea, serving as a midfielder, in Vikrant, until he went to dry dock in June, and after that on anti-submarine frigate Kirpan (ASW).

So, on September 6, I read the NHQ signal, informing the Indian fleet that war had broken out with Pakistan, and hours later, a baffling cancellation. On the night of September 7/8, we heard about a Pakistani Navy task force bombarding the city of Dwarka on the coast of Gujarat and retiring with impunity.

On September 10 and 17, the flotilla departed Mumbai, to sweep wide to the northwest, hoping to bring the Pakistani Navy to action. In the absence of a tanker, we had to back off when the ship ran out of fuel. With Vikrant out of action, few aerial efforts were available to the commander of the fleet, depriving him of aerial reconnaissance, anti-shipping and airborne-ASW attacks. Incorrect submarine contact, causing multiple internal payloads to be ejected, and agitated radar operators caused the ships to shoot at each other, and at planes passing overhead. But we found no enemies at sea.

Only when we returned to port on 23 September, at the time of the declaration of the ceasefire, did we learn of an unwarranted government order ordering the navy not to allow its units north of the Porbandar latitudes; clear indication of a lack of maritime awareness at the political level. This, then, is a disgrace, from which IN feels compelled to redeem itself.

Within six years, fortune offered IN a chance to redeem itself, and the Bangladesh war saw the service truly bloody. Bold and imaginative leadership leveraging the full range of maritime capabilities. Space allows me to highlight just a few sketches of the exploitation of the navy that served to lay the ghosts of 1965 and show, to skeptical decision-makers, the potential of the navy as a powerful instrument of state policy.

Fire from the sky

The pride of place in the naval achievements of 1971 had to go through two operations, codenamed ‘Trident’ and ‘Python.’ In early 1971, India included 8 Soviet-class Osa ships, armed with Styx, a radar-homing anti-ship missile. With limited durability, these small ships were designed by the Soviets for a port defense role, but IN drew up a bold plan to pull them across 250 nautical miles and launch an attack on the Pakistan Navy, on its stronghold.

Operation ‘Trident’ was launched on the night of 4/5 December, when three missile boats, escorted by two corvettes, attacked Karachi, sinking the civilian destroyer Khaibar, Muhafiz minesweeper and a merchant ship. Operation ‘Python’ followed on the night of 7/8 December, when another missile boat, escorted by two frigates, launched four missiles at the port of Karachi, damaged the tanker, Dacca, sank a merchant ship and set fire to a large fuel tank field.

Despite the material and psychological damage inflicted, IN managed to hold Pak’s navy in Karachi, with merchant ships seeking a ‘safe passage’ from Indian authorities.

Indian Killing squadron missile boats participating in Operation Trident. Photo: Indian Navy, GODL-India via Wikimedia Commons

The ‘lame duck’ carrier

INS Vikrant has rendered get out of battle [out of combat], in 1965, due to untimely repairs, the navy decided that aircraft carriers should make a major contribution, in the coming conflict. But there’s a serious problem.

The antique steam boiler of a WWII ship had cracked and was in dire need of repair. The high pressure steam from the boilers not only powers the ship’s engines, but also the ‘catapults’ that launch aircraft. If pushed too hard in their precarious condition, they could just explode, but we had no, no spare or time for repairs. After much suffering, NHQ decided that Vikrant, with all his limitations, would go to war – but in the Bay of Bengal.

Two Vikrant air squadrons – one Sea Hawk fighter jets and the other from Alize’s turbo-prop ASW aircraft – ravaged airfields, ports, merchant shipping and river traffic. With Vikrant blocking the seaward escape route for Pak’s troops, it accelerated their handover. The story of the highly successful Vikrant operation off the coast of East Pakistan is replete with examples of outstanding personal courage, engineering ingenuity, and leadership and determination. The annihilation of civil servant Ghazi, who was sent to drown Vikrant, testifies to the old adage that, “luck favors the brave.”

Vikrant’s Marine Hawk Squadron on land during the Indo-Pakistani war of December 1971.Photo: Indian Navy, GODL-India / Wikimedia Commons

Underwater warfare

The navy’s second submarine weapon was actively deployed in 1971, but there are differences in conceptual approaches to operations. The NHQ has taken the conscious decision that IN will not undertake ‘unrestricted submarine warfare’, and Indian submarines have strict orders to obtain ‘positive identification’ of targets before striking. Deployed off the coast of Karachi and Makaran, for weeks, this impractical proposition is sure to be a source of frustration for our submarines.

Pakistani planners, on the other hand, having made the initial decisions regarding the submarine’s offensive deployment, sailing in Ghazi in mid-November, on a 3,000 mile journey, were tasked with finding and attacking Vikrant. PNS Hangor and sister Mangro, set sail a week later, to attack unexpected targets in Saurashtra and Bombay. Fate deals with them differently; while Ghazi sank, with all hands, from Vishakhapatnam on the night of December 1/2, due to an internal explosion, Hangor, was able to torpedo and sink the frigate INS Khukri, from Diu on the night of 10 December.

Special operations in East Pakistan

Apart from an intense air campaign and an East Pakistan naval blockade, IN also installed a top secret ‘Operation X’ whose full details only emerged recently. Administered by the NHQ Naval Intelligence Directorate, the operation involved training more than 400 Mukti Bahini volunteers in activities such as combat swimming, diving, demolition and sabotage, at secret riverside facilities, for clandestine activities behind enemy lines in East Pakistan.

The operation also employed a small number of IN and Mukti Bahini warships to attack the ports of Chalna, Khulna and Mongla and other targets on the Pussur River. In an unprecedented and heroic effort, Indian and Bengali naval commandos destroyed nearly 100,000 tonnes of shipping on rivers and ports in East Pakistan, demoralizing Pakistani forces and severely short of river transportation to support operations in insurgent-infested areas.

The captain fell

The loss of the INS Khukri frigate while on an anti-submarine mission, on 9 December, was a devastating blow to IN, however, no reports of the 1971 war can be resolved without mentioning the fortitude and courage of its commander. officer, Captain MN Mulla, who was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.

Captain MN Mulla on postage stamps issued in 2000.Photo: India Post, Government of India, GODL-India via Wikimedia Commons

The cat-and-mouse game between ship and submarine is always loaded against submarines, but in this case, the match between PNS Hangor, the sophisticated French submarine, commissioned in 1970, and the 13 year old Khukri submarine is even more unequal. High speed and evasive tactics could provide protection to the ship, but ironically, this option was turned down by Captain Mulla as his ship was conducting urgent trials of a covert modification meant to increase the sonar’s detection range!

So, when the Hangor torpedo exploded under Khukri’s hull, the frigate had no chance of survival, and Mulla, gave the order to “leave ship.” After confirming that as many of his crew as possible had left, he returned to the Captain’s seat on the bridge, and calmly disembarked in his ship.

“Not because that is what is expected of him, or because tradition demands it,” said his daughter, Ameeta Mulla-Wattal, “but because, for him, it is the only thing that has to be done.”

Admiral Arun Prakash (retired) is a former head of the navy.

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