A Clark County food pantry has been given another chance to help those in need through the winter as their current location cannot be used due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michelle Speaks, assistant director of the House of Prayer Outreach Food Pantry, normally helps run the pantry from the basement of the church located at 1403 S. Yellow Springs St., but due to COVID-19 they could no longer do so. Speaks runs the pantry along with director Alonzo McCoy, secretary Edith Davis, five other board members and several volunteers,
Speaks was worried about feeding people not only due to the coronavirus but also because of the winter weather and not being able to be inside. She tried running the pantry out of parking lots, including the old Kroger on South Limestone, and through popups, shops and neighborhoods.
“When COVID hit, it just changed everything,” she said. “We still have fed quite a few people last year, maybe around 5,000.”
When Speaks had to have her 20-year-old cat put down by the veterinarian, she said she had “a blessing” and “someone showed a true act of kindness” to help with the food pantry.
She said she was talking with Dr. John Bruce at VCA Northwood Animal Hospital, located at 3681 Middle Urbana Road, about how she was having difficulty running the food pantry due to COVID and not being able to operate in the church.
“He looked at me and said, ‘you know I have that empty building up front’. He said, ‘it’s yours for the winter, free of charge’,” Speaks said. “I said you’ve got to be kidding me, and he said no, what I’m doing is important because I’m feeding people so he wants me to use the building... he said it’s got lights, heat, running water, and it’s yours for free for the winter.”
Speaks said she almost broke down in tears.
Speaks said there were two conditions for using the building. They had to change the pantry’s hours from 9-10 a.m. to 2-3 p.m. due to the number of people and patients at the clinic during the morning hours, and the building needed to be cleaned as it hadn’t been used in two years.
Speaks, other board members and volunteers cleaned the building up on Thursday to start re-running their pantry from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
“I’m excited and grateful... I didn’t know what we we’re going to do for the rest of winter,” she said. “We want Dr. Bruce to know how appreciative we are. Random acts of kindness... we as humans got to start doing this more. If you can do something for somebody, why not just do it?”