Pandemic struggles weighing on local food pantry as the winter weather ramps up

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ELKHART, Ind -- Local food pantries are preparing for the major snow fall as they continue to be plagued by the pandemic supply chain struggles.

The pandemic is approaching two years of existence and while many are concerned with store shelves, food pantries are also impacted by the lack of supplies.

"As of right now, we can’t even order skids of food from certain places, whereas two years ago we could’ve order whole skids," said Church Community Services Food Services Director Michael Downing. 

Michael Downing of Church Community Services, says the pandemic and supply chain issues have made things hard for the organization.

Thankfully though, donors has been diligent in their giving, allowing them to keep providing for the community.

"Some people have really stepped up and given even more. Recently we had a donation that came from Hoosiers for the hungry. They donated 1,200 pounds of meat for us and so it’s just quite amazing how people have found a way to give in spite of," said Downing 

The non-profit organization says there are times when they don’t have certain items and need to purchase food but the way things have gone lately there are things money can’t buy.

"We called and wanted to spend thousands of dollars and they said they simply do not have it in stock. And so, we had to find ways to purchase in smaller quantities and we had to make more trips and yea that took more manpower," said Downing.

More manpower for an organization that struggled with keeping volunteers compared to employers that struggle to keep paid workers.

"One of the setbacks is that we lost our volunteers initially in the pandemic," said Downing.

Although they were able to get them back over time, the pandemic forced them to begin having more meetings to keep communication tight in order to efficiently service those in need.

"We kind of had to streamline the way that we serve people that way we can function on a smaller amount of people and still get them all served. So that was quite interesting," said Downing.

The organization is planning to work around the upcoming weather conditions this week.

If the weather permits, they will open from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

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