On any given Thursday, Catholic Charities West Michigan (CCWM) typically assists about 70 people who come to its food pantry at 1095 Third St. in Muskegon.
Last week, that more than doubled: 150 individuals sought the to-go boxes of food that CCWM is now offering to its patrons in the wake of the coronavirus. And, based on the number of phone calls and messages the organization has received about accessing food, the nonprofit expects that number will grow.
“It really seems like there’s a need out there, especially for the occupations that have experienced layoffs,” said Phil Meade, the marketing and communications manager at CCWM.
As COVID-19 spreads across the country, including two confirmed cases in Muskegon County, Catholic Charities will keep its food pantry open to anyone who needs it. To-go boxes will be limited to one pick-up per month and will include such items as: cereal, meat, rice, and more.
“It’s a pretty good variety of items,” Meade said. “It’s not just your standard cans of food.”
The pantry will be open from 9:30am to 12pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Patrons will be able to drive or walk up to the pantry to receive the to-go boxes. The baby and toddler pantry in Muskegon will be temporarily closed due to the coronavirus, but it will continue to supply free diapers and wipes on the same days that the pantry is open.
“We decided to keep our Muskegon food pantry open and provide free food because in this time of uncertainty, we want to show God’s love and provide a sense of security and hope to those who need it most,” Chris Slater, the CEO of Catholic Charities West Michigan, said in a press release. “We feel that the safest way to provide food and resources to our vulnerable populations, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, is to offer free take-away food services.”
As the number of patrons grows, Meade said CCWM’s greatest need will be financial donations. To find out more about donating, click here.
“We partner with food retailers like Meijer and [Gordon Food Service] and get additional discounts from Feeding America, so, with every dollar you give us, we can get ten dollars’ worth of food,” Meade said.
The Catholic Charities West Michigan food pantry is located at 1095 Third St. in Muskegon. To-go boxes will be limited to one pick-up a month and will be available from 9:30am to 12pm every Tuesday and Thursday. You do not need to call ahead to reserve a box. For more information, call (231) 726-5341.