When the phone rings at Come As You Are Food Pantry in Leesburg, the voices on the other end are always different, but they have one thing in common: they need help.
“They tell me they have no work, no money, no way to pay the rent,” explains Roy Curet, food pantry organizer and pastor at a local church. “We try to help everyone, connecting them to different resources, like SNAP or Social Security benefits, but mostly we help with food.”
With schools closed and businesses just starting to reopen, accessing food at a pantry or mobile food drop instead of the supermarket is a lifesaver for families with young kids as well as seniors. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Come As You Are has doubled the number of families it can serve from 30 to 60 at its twice monthly distributions. Its mobile food drops have distributed food to 300 families each month.
At a recent food drop, Elena pulled her car into the line of cars waiting to receive food. Her two kids were in the backseat. She worked at a local restaurant before the pandemic forced it to close. Because the restaurant relied heavily on catering and large parties, it hasn’t reopened yet.
“I came here today for some food, but I got a lot more than that,” said Elena. “This is a village.”
As she moved along the driveway, volunteers loaded nonperishable items, fresh produce, milk and eggs into Elena’s car. She drove off with a trunk filled with groceries and a heart filled with hope.
Further down the line, a pair of seniors waited in their car to receive food. Joe and Louise have been living in isolation during the pandemic. They’re afraid to leave home to go places like the hardware store, grocery shopping or to pick up prescriptions due to health concerns.
“We take a walk every day just to get out,” explained Joe. Louise added, “It’s reminded us of why we retired to Florida in the first place.”
Louise went on to express gratitude, “Thank you for what you’re doing here. We are truly blessed to receive this food.”
Help provide more hope to kids, families and seniors.
$10 can provide 40 meals