Westlake Food Pantry flips script on curbside pickup

Community Services employees pre-packed bags of food for residents who registered to take part in the first day of the department's Friday Curbside Pickup program on May 15.

While many of us are supporting local restaurants by taking advantage of their curbside pickup services, the Westlake Food Pantry has flipped the script and is using the curbside pickup concept to benefit locals in need.

The Senior and Community Services Department’s new Friday Curbside Pickup program, supported by a $1,000 grant from the Community West Foundation, offers residents facing economic struggles related to the coronavirus pandemic a new, safe and discreet avenue to utilize the city’s Food Pantry. Friends and family members of residents who are struggling but unable to pickup food items themselves also are encouraged to register to use the program.

It’s a concept that has gained traction in other parts of the country and the Community Services staff in Westlake hopes it can become the norm in Northeast Ohio. Similar events have been organized in the area but not necessarily with plans to run long-term. In Westlake, the Community Services Department intends to continue to keep the program going as long as the demand is there.

Residents can register through an online portal hosted on the city’s website. There they can utilize a “privacy option” if they do not wish to share their name or contact information. By providing that option, staffers hope to reach those concerned about being identified, especially those unaccustomed to seeking out help.

Westlake residents can register online for a specific timeslot every Friday through the end of May (and possibly beyond) during which they can drive up and select from various donated perishable and non-perishable food items.

Food is being made available every Friday and there are currently no qualifications other than residency in Westlake. The amount of food the department can provide each recipient is determined by their family size – signs are posted with amounts.

To comply with CDC recommendations and state guidelines, participants must follow the department’s social distancing instructions and wear a mask when picking up food. Gloves will be provided. Also, those making a pickup should bring only themselves and one other person.

The pickup location is Westlake Senior and Community Services Center, 29694 Center Ridge Road (corner of Crocker and Center Ridge roads). Residents currently are able to register for pickup dates on Fridays, May 22 and 29, at: www.cityofwestlake.org/Activities.

Robert Rozboril

I handle Public Relations matters and website content for the City of Westlake.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 10:42 AM, 05.19.2020