12 IMG 2087Restaurants aren’t the only food-related enterprises who’ve had to change the way they operate because of COVID-19.

The ALMS HOUSE ministry in Hope Mills has had to alter how it helps the underprivileged in the area and is in need of extra support during this difficult time.

Delores Schiebe, executive director of the ALMS HOUSE, said people are still coming in to get food, but new restrictions have been put in place to safeguard both the staff and the clients.

The only part of the ALMS HOUSE that is completely shut down is the organization’s clothes closet.

Another major change involves access to the ALMS HOUSE’s popular food pantry.

Clients can no longer just show up to browse the shelves. The food pantry is only open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and all those planning to visit must call ahead for an appointment.

They will need to bring their Social Security card and proof of residence, preferably a current utility bill that includes their physical address.

The ALMS HOUSE can still only be accessed by people who live in the general area of Hope Mills. Schiebe said that basically covers what she described as a big circle around the town, except for a few odd twists and turns. Generally, it includes the area as far out as Raeford Road and almost all the way to the Robeson County line.

People who aren’t sure if they live in Hope Mills area can call Schiebe at the same number to make appointments to visit the food pantry, 910-425-0902, to confirm if they meet the residency requirements.

From noon until 12:30 p.m. and from 5 until 5:30 p.m., the ALMS HOUSE is still serving meals to anyone in need, but they are now strictly takeout.

Schiebe said the ALMS HOUSE has been helped greatly by local businesses that have donated meals for them to distribute. Among them are Fayetteville Realtors, The Diner by Chef Glenn, Sammio’s on Raeford Road, Superior Bakery, Marci’s Cakes and Bakes, Robin’s on Main and Big T’s.

Grandson’s Buffet also donated meals until the restaurant had to shut down because of the additional restrictions imposed by the governor’s executive order, but Schiebe said she hopes they will be able to resume in the near future.

One critical part of the ALMS HOUSE outreach, the Kids Assistance Program, is in danger of having to shut down due to a lack of items. The KAP was designed to provide school-age children with a source of food they could prepare on their own in their homes to make sure they had something to eat over the weekend.

Even though school is currently closed, Schiebe said school social workers are still coming to the ALMS HOUSE and picking up prepared bags of food to deliver to children in the areas where their schools are located.

But Schiebe said supplies of the kind of food used in the bags have been wiped out at local grocery stores. She especially mentioned things like ramen noodle soup and Chef Boyardee products in microwaveable containers.

ALMS HOUSE will accept those donations during regular hours, she said, with no need to make an appointment to drop them off. “We are eager to get it,’’ she said, “especially our need for items for the kids program.’’

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