“We get products like day-old bread, or when [grocery stores] have stuff like milk that is about to expire. Because there has been a huge rush in all the stores, those products are gobbled up,” Christian Helping Hands founder Hita Dickson said.
Christian Helping Hands has operated in Pearland for 35 years. The organization provides food to the less fortunate in the community and is solely run by volunteers.
The nonprofit has volunteers that go from Christian Helping Hands to grocery stores to pick up the nonprofit’s daily wares. Volunteers said they used to go back and forth three times with trucks full of groceries, but they have only been going back two times, she said.
“It’s just kind of hard to figure out,” Dickson said.
The virus has caused a shortage of volunteers as well. Over 50% of the volunteers at Christian Helping Hands are over 60, and some have chosen to stay away due to coronavirus concerns, Dickson said.
“We had 32 families that represented 127 people yesterday with a skeleton [volunteer] crew,” Dickson said.
The 32 families Christian Helping Hands saw on Monday was an average number for the nonprofit even before coronavirus hit. While the nonprofit did not receive any bread to give people, there was an influx of carrots and apples from the Houston Food Bank, Dickson said.
Churches also typically donate to the nonprofit as well, although Hickson is expecting fewer donations, as many churches have cancelled services to stop the spread of the virus.
When the coronavirus outbreak hit, Dickson was afraid the nonprofit would have to have cops present while giving away food to people to manage the crowds. Instead, people were respectful and kept distance from one another and the volunteers, Dickson said.
“Everybody is so calm about it. They’re just happy to have some place to go and say, ‘OK, I can make a meal out of this,’” Dickson said.
Despite the decrease of food, Christian Helping Hands is staying open, Dickson said. The nonprofit is also trying to make sure to sanitize the area as much as possible, Dickson said.
“I think right now, we are following as many rules as the CDC says to do, and that’s what we’re going to stick with. We’re going to try to keep it as fluid as possible,” she said.