MANA SHARE Centers Respond to Covid-19 Hunger Crisis
MANA SHARE Centers (MANA community service centers) in Lexington (KY) and Indianapolis (IN) stepped up to feed the hungry during the Covid-19 crisis. Many people were suddenly out of work with very little cash on hand, food in big-box grocery stores were running low and complicating the situation, inner-city neighborhoods served by MANA SHARE Centers had few neighborhood grocery stores. This created a hunger crisis for Muslims and the general community living in the inner-city of Lexington. The SHARE Centers closed briefly and then re-organized to be able to meet the challenge of safely providing food to the communities they serve.
MANA SHARE Lexington is in the most economically disadvantaged area of the city, where there are many working-poor families who cannot survive without a weekly paycheck. MANA’s Lexington SHARE Center was open six days a week, providing food to 3174 people from April to August—an average of 635 people per month. Boxes and bags of groceries were prepared and distributed while maintaining social distancing with masks required for all staff and clientele. A delivery service was instituted for those in the neighborhood who are invalid, quarantined or Covid stricken. Regular deliveries were also made to a near-by senior citizen building. Through a developed relationship with Walmart and Kroger, SHARE Lexington was able to pick-up and distribute fresh produce to the community twice weekly. During this time, a special effort was made to purchase fresh chicken to supplement the bags and boxes. During the early Covid-19 months, when the demand was especially high, SHARE spent an additional $1K monthly to supply families with nutritional grocery boxes.
MANA SHARE Indianapolis similarly met the challenge of Covid-19. Already running a food pantry, they increased and supplemented their food distribution with fresh produce from local farmers through a city-wide program. SHARE Indianapolis distributed food 6-8 times a month, having cars drive by the Center to receive boxes of food donations. They estimated that they served about 200 families a month. Often, they would set up tables outside the Center to distribute excess food. They made deliveries to seniors who were known to be in need of help.