Local Food Pantries Navigate Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity in Douglas County, making the need for food pantries more crucial than ever. Food pantries have continued their efforts throughout the pandemic, gone above and beyond in providing healthy food, and have connected for the first county-wide food pantry meeting.
Throughout the pandemic, local pantries distributed food and ensured clients' safety with the implementation of COVID-19 safety procedures, like masks, social distancing, curbside pickup, and delivery. There are 16 food pantries spread throughout Douglas County, making them accessible for everyone. It can be daunting for first time food pantry shoppers to navigate available resources. The Douglas County Food Resources Guide is a comprehensive list of free and low-cost food, updated regularly, and is available in English (https://tinyurl.com/ycsbso5h) and Spanish (https://tinyurl.com/ycmfty3e). Several pantries are Fuel Good Pantry partners.
Fuel Good is a Douglas County initiative implemented by K-State Research and Extension - Douglas County (KSRE Douglas County) SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educators. Pantry partners receive support to promote healthy eating by implementing programs, such as meal kits, food promotions, and nutrition education. Fuel Good Pantry partners are required to complete a "Pantry Checklist," which assesses the nutritional value of pantry food and ensures at least 70% of the food is nutritious. Currently, there are 9 Fuel Good Pantry partners in Douglas County (see full list below). Recently, KSRE Douglas County SNAP-Ed has promoted Fuel Good and connected local pantries.
October 19th, 2020, KSRE Douglas County hosted the first county-wide food pantry meeting. The goal of this meeting was to strengthen the Fuel Good initiative and foster relationships between pantries. Forty-two were in attendance, representing a mixture of community organizations and pantries. This meeting allowed representatives to connect, learn about community resources, and sparked conversations on how to better serve the community. The county-wide food pantry meeting proved to be a success and will continue to meet quarterly.
We thank everyone in attendance and give special thanks to the food pantry staff and volunteers who have continued to support our community.
To volunteer with a food pantry, contact your local food pantry or visit Volunteerdouglascounty.org for volunteer opportunities.
To watch a recording of the Douglas County food pantry meeting, visit https://tinyurl.com/y4lpxj8r.
For questions regarding the county-wide food pantry meeting or Fuel Good, email Cierra Smallwood, SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator (cierras@.ksu.edu).
Fuel Good Pantries: Ballard Community Center Food Pantry (708 Elm St, Lawrence, KS 66044), Catholic Charities (1525 W 6th St, Lawrence, KS 66044), ECKAN (2518 Ridge Ct #104, Lawrence, KS 66046), Just Food (2920 Haskell Ave, Lawrence, KS 66046), Lecompton United Methodist Church (402 Elmore St, Lecompton, KS 66050), New Assembly of God (118 5th St, Baldwin City, KS 66006), St. Paul's United Church of Christ (738 Church St, Eudora, KS 66025), Stull United Methodist Church (1596 E 250 Rd, Lecompton, KS 66050) and Trinity Interfaith Pantry (1027 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044)
Source: The Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity, Feeding America 2020