Every year, the eligibility requirements change for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). In the state of Ohio, a family of 3 can make $42,659 in a year as of today. Well, that was the case until COVID-19. Now, a family of 3 can make $49,059 in year. As this number has gone up, it is a sign our number of clients could increase as well. Our average family size we serve at Heart to Heart is a single mom with at least 2 children.
Over the past three weeks, we have seen a spike in the number of clients served. Most of the clients we saw this month received food from us before. At the same time, there was a surge in the number of new families who visited us with a total number of 161 households. This year, for the month of March, we served 522 households with a total number of 1,929 individuals. In March 2019, we served 422 households with a total number of 1,433 individuals.
When we first saw how more restrictions were being enforced, we knew we would have to make some changes on how we traditionally serve our clients. Normally, we would allow our clients to come inside the pantry at (1944 W. First Ave) to choose which foods they would like to have for their families. However, with the new restrictions we went to a drive-in system to pre-package all of our clients food. We divided all our pre-packaged bags to reflect either 1 to 4-person family or a family of 5 or more. Families of 1 to 4 select 2 bags of food with items such as canned soups, canned veggies, toiletry items, and separate bags for produce and refrigeration items. Families with 5 or more people will get 3 bags with the same type food, only more. Inside these bags we also placed resources for various food pantries, bus routes to get to these places, and helpful information for family resources.
I’m very grateful for my team (The Task Force) who created this awesome plan and help to make things run smoothly. They are: Addair Levine, Janice Rook, Michael Delphia, and Melody Smiley. Their hard work came at a time that is much needed to ensure all our clients are being served safely and orderly as well as volunteers being safe.
The outpouring of support from the community has been nothing short of amazing. We appreciate everyone’s response to this crisis. We have appreciated your prayers, your food and monetary donations, volunteer support, etc. We have been truly blessed and will continue to do this very important and needed work for as long as we can.
To Learn more about TEFAP and how this affects our clients, click here.
If you would like to volunteer at Heart to Heart please click here. Please note: everyone is now required to wear a mask or face covering of some sort. Please bring face mask with you to volunteer. Gloves will be provided.