Mid-Ohio Food Collective helping more first-time customers

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A new program in Ohio is making it easier for people at home to put food on the table. The Mid-Ohio Food Collective has seen a significant increase in the amount of food they’ve distributed since the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re prepared to continue to help.

“No one would have known this was coming,” said Malik Perkins with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.

He said more people relying on the Mid-Ohio Food Collective for the first time ever to get food for their families. The food collective now has the ability to support those customers because they’re temporarily waiving certain requirements.

“We are here with you, we are here for you,” Perkins said. “Even if you never needed to do this before, we want you to come to get the help.”

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services approved the Ohio Disaster Household Distribution Program.

This allows food banks to serve first-time customers and not require the person-to-person contact to collect your name, address, income verification, and other information before serving. 

They may still ask our customers to provide ID and their address so they can measure how much food they are distributing. 

It also helps SNAP recipients because it increases the maximum monthly benefits they can use in grocery stores allowing food banks to fill in smaller gaps.

“Whatever they’re unable to get, they can still come to us and they can supplement that,” Perkins said. “It helps them out with being able to further save money in regards to food especially if they’re working limited hours or are looking for work at this time.”

Operations at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective are running smoothly thanks to the national guardsmen who are helping stock and prepare meals.

The Mid-Ohio Food Collective has distributed more than two million pounds of food from March 23rd to April 3rd, which is a 14 percent increase compared to the same time period last year.

Organizers with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective say they have noticed a difference in the items people are looking for during this pandemic.

“I mean protein and things of that nature are always in high demand,” Perkins said. “But some of our most high demand items actually aren’t food items. It’s some of the hygiene items.”

The Ohio Disaster Household Distribution Program will last until April 30.

Here is the link to all of the food pantries in central Ohio. (https://www.midohiofoodbank.org/get-help/get-food/).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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