Manna is committed to do its part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The following preparedness practices focus on protecting the well-being of our staff, volunteers, and people facing hunger during this public health threat. While we are taking this threat seriously, we are encouraging everyone to remain calm and rational—confident in the measures we are taking.
At this time, Manna will continue most operations, including:
- acquiring and distributing food to partner agencies
- rescuing food and receiving donations from local businesses and individuals
- distributing food directly to those in need
Since Michigan schools are currently closed through April 6, we will not be delivering “Food 4 Kids” backpacks to area schools. However, Manna and its partners are currently exploring other ways to provide backpack food items to at-risk elementary and preschool students so that they do not go hungry.
In an effort to promote “social distancing” during this time, Manna will limit access to and time spent at our facility by:
- Temporarily closing its client-choice food pantry, opting to distribute pre-assembled food boxes to clients with an assortment of self-stable and fresh foods.
- Requiring partner agencies to place pre-orders for all food items and limiting the number of agency representatives allowed during pickups.
- Canceling all volunteer groups and regularly scheduled volunteer opportunities, relying on staff and a limited number of volunteers for ongoing operations.
These new procedures will be in effect until further notice.
In addition, Manna will encourage staff and volunteers to follow recommended ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses:
- Stay home if you are feeling ill or if you show any symptoms (coughing, trouble breathing, fever, etc.).
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as frequently as possible. Hand sanitizers are also encouraged, though not as effective as washing hands for 20 or more seconds.
- Turn away from others when sneezing or coughing, using disposable tissues. Use your elbow only if that is your only option.
- Avoid touching your face. We touch our faces 90 times each day without realizing it!
- Avoid handshaking and coming into close contact with others. Try to remain 6 feet apart.
- Open doors with your closed fist or hip. This is especially important on bathroom and commercial doors.
Manna Community Food Pantry
Until further notice, Manna Community Food Pantry will be closed. However, pre-assembled food boxes with a variety of shelf-stable and fresh foods will be available on regularly scheduled pantry days:
- Every Tuesday, 9 a.m. to noon
- 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, 3 to 6 p.m.
Emergency food boxes will also be available 24/7 at Manna, during regular business hours or by calling 231.675.5715.
Client registration and distribution of food boxes will take place from Manna’s street-level loading dock or as a drive-through pantry service. Staff and volunteers will assist loading food boxes into client vehicles. Under special circumstances, Manna will deliver food boxes directly to residences within our immediate service area.
Manna will implement procedures to more frequently clean our facility, work areas, and vehicles, ensuring a safe space for all.
We strongly encourage everyone to stay up to date with COVID-19 news and updates. For reliable and trustworthy information, please visit www.coronavirus.gov.
What You Can Do
We’ve received many calls from community members wanting to help. Here are some things you can do at this time:
- Continue to donate and your financial support. While food banks across the country are reporting lower donation rates, the need for emergency food is increasing due to school closures, illness, and financial stress.
- Keep yourself healthy. Wash your hands often and follow good hygiene practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, reducing the burden on local health providers.
- Stay informed. For volunteer updates and ways to lend a hand, please sign up for our volunteer e-newsletter. While we so appreciate our community’s support, we ask that you use this avenue for volunteer information to keep our phone lines open for emergency needs.
Thank you for your cooperation, understanding, and continued support during this time.
Jessyca Stoepker | March 13, 2020