For the first time in 49 years, Open Door is offering longer hours for food pick-up beginning Monday. Open Door Pantry will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the third Monday of the month through the end of the year.
Jennifer Taylor, director of development, said Open Door board members will volunteer to distribute boxes of food Monday, and then each month after a business, church or other organization will be on hand to do the same.
Regular hours for Open Door are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The extended hours to 6 p.m. once a month will allow people who work to come by later in the day.
Executive Director Amanda Davis said the extended hours will only be for food distribution. No reservation is necessary, people only need to pull up to the door and volunteers will place the boxes in their vehicle.
“Our team believes that everybody should have the access to Open Door’s food pantry, and any of Open Door’s services,” Davis said. “This is just an extension of our hours to be able to reach the working class.
“We've been around for so long, but we’ve never thought about extending hours,” she continued. “It was something the warehouse crew really wanted to do.”
She added Open Door often gives “emergency boxes” after hours and the staff was seeing a rising need in the community.
“Especially because of COVID,” Davis noted.
Taylor added during the pandemic they began to see people they had never seen before picking up food boxes.
“It was people who never thought they would need our services,” Taylor said.
Davis said many of the “new faces” seeking help said they were on unemployment benefits and not working, but added once they begin working again they wouldn’t be able to come to Open Door because of the hours of operation.
If the need arises, Davis plans to add an extra day a month.
“Then if we do see a need, and we cannot serve everybody within those extended hours, then we may open up another Monday,” Davis said.
She added the community groups that have volunteered are “very passionate” about serving. Many of the groups are happy the hours are extended so they can volunteer at Open Door after work.
Distribution of food will not change with extended hours.
“Everything will be the same, all the food boxes,” Davis said. “Everything we serve during the day, we’ll serve at the evening hours. We are really stressing that these hours are for our working-class families.”
Davis added Open Door staff and volunteers will practice COVID awareness and will wear face masks while distributing food boxes.
Open Door Pantry, 111 W. Sixth St., will have extended hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday for food distribution. Those wanting to receive boxes should pull up through the Open Door driveway; volunteers will load the boxes into the vehicle. For more information, call 660-827-1613.