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Volunteers from the Little Falls Volunteer Corps take groceries off of palettes and bring them into the Food Pantry on Furnace Street.
by Dave Warner
On Monday morning, the Little Falls Volunteer Corps sent people to the first organization that asked for help. The Food Pantry on Furnace Street had a large delivery truck that was arriving at 9 am, and the normal volunteers from Catholic Charities were not going to be able to assist like they normally did.
Jordyan Mueller, head of the LF Volunteer Corps said, “What we’re trying to do is identify organizations and prioritize need, and then build out an organization of support, both for the people they are serving and for the organizations themselves by staffing onsite volunteers.”
Volunteers showed up to unload the truck, and they were briefed by Mueller about the following items before starting:
- 3-4 volunteers allowed onsite at one time
- Gloves and hand sanitizer are available (provided by LFVC)
- Masks will be available upon request (provided by LFVC)
- Must retain 6 feet from other volunteers at all times
- No touching face
- Wash and sanitize hands before leaving
- When arriving home change clothes and shower immediately
LFVC also has a push to develop a large group of online volunteers as well, using phones, text messages and email. Mueller said, “the whole point behind this is that if we can centralize requests, people are able to stay home and still get what they need, which will ultimately allow us to get through this together faster.”
A web-based platform is being built to help communicate with volunteers and organizations and individuals who need help, like the Food Pantry. “It’s going to provide incoming SMS or text communication for people so they can just shoot a text to a number. That will digitally connect them to the system which will mobilize volunteers as needed to respond and help triage issues,” she said.
The group is also looking at using a voice mail service to serve people who may not have cell phones.
Tony DeLuca, Executive Director of the YMCA, which the Food Pantry falls under, said, “This morning’s delivery of 6,634 pounds of food went from pallets to the pantry in a little over 30 minutes! What an effort! The pantry has now been restocked to better serve our community members experiencing food insecurity.”
The next truck is scheduled to arrive on April 6th.
Mueller said, “the spirit of LF Volunteer Corps is how can we mutually support one another in this time, but also for the future? This is really about relationship building and community connection, but it just so happens to be at a time of crisis.”
If you would like to volunteer to help with any of the other activities that the Little Falls Volunteer Corps has identified, please fill out their convenient form to be added to the database, find them on Facebook or email LFVolunteerCorps@gmail.com