FLINT — COVID-19 may be starting to show signs of retreating but the impact of the pandemic has far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease itself, including political, cultural, social and economic implications.
It is often the case that communicable diseases affect populations unequally, with the most vulnerable often being the ones most negatively impacted. Indeed, early evidence indicates that the health and economic impacts of the virus are being borne disproportionately by low income families. This is believed to be due to lesser access to adequate health care, lower resistance or compromised immune systems, stigma or bias, or lack of information about proper prevention and care.
While many things are uncertain about how the future will unfold, one local nonprofit remains a constant resource within the community. Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties have been providing assistance to those in need since 1941.
“Even before COVID-19, no community was free of hunger, but during the pandemic, many hard-working Americans suddenly find themselves needing support they never wanted to ask for and we are focused on making sure that we can help everyone who comes to our door,” says Vicky Schultz, CEO.
As the stay at home order relaxes and services begin to ramp back up, Catholic Charities Pantry and Community Closet will be reopened to the public beginning Monday, June 15th. “We of course will have special procedures in place to accommodate recommendations for social distancing and protecting the health of our guests, volunteers and staff,” adds Schultz.
Keeping healthy and safe however is not just about social distancing, a healthy immune system is essential, and the economic impact of the virus has made fresh produce unaffordable for many. This is why the agency is now adding fresh fruit and vegetables to the items available in the Pantry.
Jim Niemiec is an enthusiastic volunteer at Catholic Charities and the smiling face that greets guests when they come through the fresh produce drive-thru. “I first discovered Catholic Charities when my granddaughter needed counseling. I was so impressed with everything they do, that I now volunteer with the food giveaways 2-3 days a week!” said Niemiec.
But it’s more than just food, in addition to the normal range of pasta, canned goods and cereals Catholic Charities has always provided, guests can get shampoo, toothbrushes, diapers and more! The Community Closet also has clothing in all sizes and household items such as dishes, books, games and toys.
Both the Pantry and the Community Closet are free and open to the public, Mondays 12 pm – 3 pm,
Wednesdays and Fridays 9 am – 12 pm, 1480 N. M- 52, Ste. 1, Owosso, MI 48867. Catholic Charities is always looking for volunteers to help in the Community Closet. If you have any questions call 989-723-8239 or visit www.ccsgc.org. — G.G.