Customers began drifting into the rear loading area of the Frederick Community Action Agency just after 2 p.m. Friday, just as the agency’s food bank distribution service began to operate for the day.
Staff members Chris Bard and Sarah McAleavy greeted each person, asked how many people they needed food for and if they were looking for any items in particular.
On Thursday, they’d served about 30 families, said Bard, supervisor of the agency’s Food Nutrition Program.
They haven’t seen an increase in recent days, although they may have seen some new people, McAleavy said, as people struggle with the economic impact caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But that may change in the next week or two, as the economic fallout spreads, Bard said.
Elsewhere on Friday, the agency partnered with the Salvation Army to deliver bags of food to seniors in the Taney Village and Catoctin Manor communities.
Each bag holds three to five days’ worth of nonperishable food, said Lt. Chris Raymer of the Salvation Army.
They took 160 bags for the 130 residents of Taney Village, and 23 for Catoctin Manor residents.
Janet Jones, acting director of the FCAA, said that the original plan was to drop the bags at residents’ doors, but they ended up delivering them to the facilities’ staffs to distribute to residents.
Raymer said one woman who was dropping off items for her mother who lived in Taney Village thanked him for bringing the items, and said it would take a financial burden off her in this troubled time.
Normally, the group focuses on providing emergency financial assistance to families, he said.
But with evictions and utility shutoffs not happening during the state of emergency caused by the virus, they were looking for ways to serve the community.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the virus, and have been urged to stay in their homes during the pandemic.
“We’re just trying to make it a little easier on them,” Raymer said.
He said they have the vehicles and other things needed to deliver food, and the idea of the partnership with the FCAA came up in a discussion with Mayor Michael O’Connor’s office.
The FCAA and Salvation Army are also talking with Frederick County Public Schools to provide weekend food supplies at FCPS food distribution locations.
O’Connor hailed the partnership between the FCAA and Salvation Army in a statement Friday.
“During this time of uncertainty and rapidly changing guidance and orders, I remain deeply committed to serving the needs of our community. At the city, we have activated our departments in partnership with community organizations to begin to address those needs. This type of work will continue and must continue.”
Jones said they plan to make another delivery next Thursday, and then re-evaluate the need going forward.