PaPa’s Pantry, the local food bank in Glen Rose, is now using curbside service to help maintain safe social distancing and minimize potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus for its clients as well as its volunteer workers.
Administrative Manager Bill French said that PaPa’s Pantry is still open to serve the public on Tuesday of each week, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and from 3-6 p.m.
The curbside service began last week, French said. Prior to that, the normal process was to have the clients walk into the building to sign in with the receptionist, then wait until their name is called when they would go into the storage area to pick out what they need. From there, the items were placed in a shopping cart, and rolled out to the vehicle.
That process has changed, at least for the foreseeable future.
“We’re pre-boxing foods,” French explained. “They form a line (at the curb in front) in their vehicles, and we are able to keep our distance. The food is placed in the car for them.
“We try to have a lot of boxes pre-filled. It’s worked out real well. Clients are happy not to have to come in. We wear masks, and we do our work as cleanly as we can. In spite of all the chaos, we’re still able to serve people and we are very thankful to be able to do that.”
Anyone who is able to donate non-perishable food or other useful items can put them in the dropbox at the front of the building at any time. PaPa’s Pantry is at 753 Gibbs Blvd. in Glen Rose. If you have questions for the food bank, call 682-936-5663.
In an interview late last year, French said that an average of about 155 families per month are served by the food bank.
In the first curbside service day, French said he recalled that they served about 37 families.
“A lot of people are scared to get out at all,” he said. “Everything is so unpredictable.”
French also noted that for those who are unable to get to the food pantry, they can also provide a delivery service, utilizing volunteers who can leave the food items on their porch.
“As long as we can, we are going to be there serving people,” French said.
Some items are currently available in limited quantities from the primary supplier, Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB). But, overall, the distribution of food to those in need is moving forward.
“Right now, we’re getting supplies,” French said. “However, we are having to limit some of the things we order.”
French mentioned carrots and canned soup as two examples of items that may be in short supply at the moment.
“Where normally we order every other week, we order twice a week now,” French said. “So that makes up for the limited (items) from TAFB. We usually get everything we order.”
PaPa’s Pantry also has items other than food — even toilet paper — but also in limited amounts.
“Sometimes a company will send us some,” French said. “We’re rationing it out — one roll per family.”
Other items that are welcomed as donations include cereal and crackers, French noted.