YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — Ms. Gails wants to be prepared.
The south side woman, who refused to give her first name, was one of hundreds of people waiting in their cars Thursday on South Garland Avenue to get food at the E.B. Family Life Center at South Garland and Himrod avenues.
The center, which is the non-profit arm of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, has been giving away food for 20 years but has seen a substantial increase in people looking for food since the COVID-19 crisis began, said William Fowler, outreach director for the center.
Fowler said the center would typically give away food for 375 families during its once a month giveaway. But since the crisis began they are seeing 605 families coming to get food.
“It’s a major increase,” Fowler said.
And because of the complications caused by social distancing, the giveaway had to be moved from inside to outside. Fowler said he had 35 volunteers Thursday, who moved fast and made sure the line moved fast as well. Every volunteer was wearing a mask.
Some of those volunteers were directing traffic because the line of cars at one point stretched almost two blocks down to Rigby Street.
Ms. Gails was the driver of one of those cars. After asking a reporter to take her picture, she said she was afraid the virus will spur a shortage in food, so she is trying to stock up for what she anticipates will be lean times in the future.
“There’s going to be a shortage of food and I’m just trying to prepare for it,” she said. “It’s going to be like a good famine.”
Fowler said the center is able to provide food through donations of both goods and money. He noted Giant Eagle and Marcs donated bags and boxes to help the center package the food.
Fowler said the center will be giving away good twice a month now to help people who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Anyone wishing to help can contact Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church at 330-746-7190.