Even in the midst of a global crisis one thing never changes, people need food. While local shelves are cleaned out immediately after being stocked, organizations like Mission Marshall are working to adapt to the situation, to ensure every family in Marshall is able to eat.
“Last week we served 300 families, which is about 100, or 150 more than we get in an average week,” said director Misty Scott.
Whether the rise in need comes from community members being unable to work, or is due to the lack of food on the shelves, Scott said Mission Marshall is working to serve double the usual amount of families since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
She said that the organization has had to make big changes to its day to day operations in an effort to feed local families and keep both guests and volunteers safe.
The usual self serve style pantry utilized by Mission Marshall has been replaced by curbside pickup and prebagged groceries.
Community members now pull up to the parking lot and stay in their cars. Volunteers then check in the community member, and give them a number.
“We usually have guests check themselves in, but this way the pen and paper never change hands. Our volunteers are able to do what they need to and also keep their distance to protect community members and themselves,” Scott said.
Groceries are then bagged by volunteers inside the building and delivered to the car.
No one, other than volunteers and staff members, are allowed inside the building, where Scott said they have plenty of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
“We are doing everything that we can to be sure we can still operate, and also keep everyone healthy,” she said.
Scott said that last weekend employees of the mission met with board members to determine a plan of action.
“We knew we could not close, so we tried to determine the best ways to stay open and protect our volunteers and the public,” Scott said. “What we want is to be sure we are getting food in people’s hands quickly.”
While the mission is able to work this way now, Scott said there is some concern over the amount of time they will be able to continue operations.
To ensure they are able to continue, Scott said the organization needs a steady stream of healthy, low risk volunteers to bag groceries and help with produce.
Donations of money, food, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are also needed.
Anyone interested in volunteering is can call the organization at 903-472-4944. Food drop offs are still at regular times, and can be coordinated to be picked up from the car.
For more information on the organization, or to donate to the group, community members can go to www.missionmarshall.org.