As our world turned upside down this past month, we’ve found some things don’t change… Kids still fight bedtime, dogs still get on the couch, and people in our community still face hunger … even more so as jobs are lost.
All Souls Community Resource Bank (CRB) and our faithful volunteers have for years been providing food to families through schools, housing-first programs, a veterans’ center, and homeless outreach. But what happens when we are told to stay home? How do we help people get food?
Balancing our desire and ability to help others with keeping those we care about safe became our priority as we had conversations with the ministers about how to continue to provide the food our community partners count on.
So, as we all have done, we found new ways to work.
Our monthly food drop offs at Empower Families and Lindsey House involved disinfecting wipes and gloves. Instead of several volunteers, only Bill Snyder helped us gather non-perishables from the church and fresh produce from the Food Bank.
We usually have the kids help us take food into the office at Empower Families, but we asked for them to be kept away.
We usually help the Lindsey House moms carry in their food, but this time the staff unloaded while we kept at a distance. New ways to work.
At the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, only one person at a time is allowed in, for just 15 minutes, to ‘shop’ whatever produce might be available that day. We set up a relay to get food for the Coffee Bunker veterans – filled carts were pushed out on the dock for Becky and Robert Billings to load in their car for a parking lot drop off.
Our monthly school dinners were suspended as schools focused on online learning and grab-n-go meals. Thanks to a connection through Nancy McDonald and All Souls Partners In Education, we are partnering with the Dream Center to get groceries to our families anyway. New ways to work.
Doing more with less is challenging. We have several new community groups asking for food and want to find ways to provide it. YOU might be able to help.
We need volunteers. Our new guidelines limit volunteers to those outside the high-risk categories for age and health. Unfortunately, that left most of our regular volunteers, including our chairperson, Joe Nurre, unable to serve.
We need a pool of 6-8 volunteers who are under 70 and without any chronic health conditions. You will work mostly on your own, with limited contact with one person from the CRB, as we pull, pack, and deliver groceries. We provide gloves and sanitizer. We require masks and can get you one. Lifting and carrying is involved and most tasks take about two hours. Send a message to CRB@AllSoulsChurch.org if you can be a helper.
We need family sponsors. Items purchased from the Food Bank are much more economical than the local store, but they are not free. We can provide a week’s worth of food for a family for $25. Can you sponsor a family for the next 3 months or more? Checks mailed to the church and on allsoulschurch.org/give should have CRB in the memo. Any amount makes you a helper. (2952 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa OK 74114)
It’s not a simple decision to choose to go out into the world these days.
I did my research and weighed my risk, both for being exposed and exposing others in my household. I learned how to reduce that risk even more. And I decided I can continue to be a helper, to make a difference in my community, to keep someone from being hungry. Maybe you can be a helper, too.
Deanna Tirrell is the lay-volunteer coordinator for All Souls Community Resource Bank. She also serves our ACTION core team, as All Souls is proud faith-partner of ACTION Tulsa.
The CRB fosters awareness about issues of poverty and hunger by responding to the hunger crisis by distributing material goods and food to our partner schools and partner agencies. The CRB is a proud partner agency of Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Read more about the impact CRB has in Tulsa.