Beach Food Pantry keeping up with growing demand
Published 11:13 am Sunday, March 29, 2020
The demand is growing at the Beach Food Pantry in Kitty Hawk. Elisabeth Silverthorne, executive director of the non-profit organization that provides groceries for those who need help, says since the COVID-19 crisis, the demand has dramatically risen. She said the need has doubled this month.
The mission of the Beach Food Pantry is to provide direct nutritional assistance to Dare County residents in a temporary crisis or emergency situation. Proof of residency is required. If shopping for a family, identification or a photo of the identification for a spouse and children is needed. Although an official ID such as a driver’s license is preferred, a utility bill, school ID or most anything that shows the person(s) to be a Dare County resident is accepted. Home delivery is provided for people over 70 years old or those with a compromised immune system or, in the current COVID crisis, ordered to isolate.
Currently, a Dare resident in need can shop at the Beach Food Pantry once per month and up to four times per year. The groceries are distributed free of charge for Dare County residents. Silverthorne says the pandemic is an evolving situation and requirements for the service could change accordingly. She suggests checking the organization’s Facebook page for updates.
It is becoming more difficult for the nonprofit to bulk buy food, but an Outer Banks Community Foundation grant has helped, said Silverthorne, and public monetary donations are helping. Local supermarkets also donate.
Ten volunteers currently help distribute the available groceries, which include grains, canned goods, perishable and canned vegetables, meats and other items. A person can choose from available items and the amount of groceries allowed is determined by the size of the family.
The COVID-19 virus crisis has changed the way the orders are filled. Instead of shopping inside, a person selects groceries by cell phone from their car (phones in plastic bags are available for those who don’t have a cell phone). Volunteers then fill the order and deliver the groceries by cart to the waiting car. Groceries can be loaded for you or self-loaded from the cart.
In an abundance of caution, the volunteers wear gloves. The shopping carts are sanitized between each order and volunteers practice the hand washing rule suggested by health officials before filling the next order. Most orders take about 20 minutes, although wait time can be longer.
With the “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” advisory going into effect for Dare County, Silverthorne is confident the Beach Food Pantry can still fulfill the growing need. She says “Food is an essential item; we will be here even if I have to do it myself.”
The Beach Food Pantry is located at 4007 N. Croatan Hwy. in Kitty Hawk. For the latest information, check their website at https://beachfoodpantry.org/ or call 252-261-2756.