Jewish Family Services preparing for more who will need help as COVID-19 spreads, impacts jobs locally

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jewish Family Services has two food pantries, one in Brookside, and another in Overland Park, serving 500 families each week in need.

The organization is expecting that number to grow, as the coronavirus continues to spread, leaving thousands of people in the metro jobless.

The JFS says its food pantries aren’t slammed now, but the organization knows that’ll change soon. Now, it’s working on building up a two-month supply of goods.

“As we look at what’s happening in other cities, as the virus moves in, that the need for food really escalates,” Jewish Family Services Chief Program Officer Richard Odiam said.

This past week, a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment. That number could rise, as government officials continue to force businesses to shut down. It’s an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

The organization said their services are needed now, more than ever.

“We have gone to a drive up model to where we’re bringing box food. We’ve also increased the number of deliveries that we make,” Odiam said. “Particularly to older adults, who are unable to get out or it would be recommended for them to be self isolating.”

The Jewish Family Services says closing down isn’t an option with them being a safety net for the community. Thankfully, the organization’s volunteers allow them to do this. The volunteers’ health and wellness is also top priority.

“Now we’ve set up for volunteers to come in to pack boxes. We’ve set it up so they come in family groups, they’re already kind of self-isolated together,” Odiam said.

Beyond needing food for your family, there is no specific requirement to sign up for JFS’ services. You can go to their website to sign up and schedule an appointment.

For anyone looking for pantries in your area, call 211 for information.

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