By Haley Wade
The Ross Community Center is home to an ever-growing food line and one sprinkled with good cheer, even in the most difficult of times brought on by COVID-19. Every Friday, cars line up to participate in the food market.
Jacqueline Hanoman, Executive Director of the Ross Community Center, is always there to help.
“It’s a community market,” she says. “It is not a food pantry. People get more than food. It’s a place of gathering where we engage with people, we do programming, we give food but we also give hygiene products,” she said.
However, COVID-19 has increased the need for the food market and the number of families has been steadily rising, Hanoman said.
“We receive about 550 to about 600 people per week now,” she said.
Jack McFarren, Sports Coordinator at the Ross Center, also helps with the food market. He does a lot of the physical labor associated with the job, including helping to unload the food pallets when they arrive and getting things together in time for when the market opens. He also is one of the people who hands items out to cars as they drive through.
“About a month ago, we hit over 600 people. It’s just been getting more and more every week as things go on,” McFarren explained. “A lot of them have lost their jobs, or they’re not working as much, and it’s really unfortunate.”
While they receive food every week for their market, it’s been hard getting enough to support everyone who comes through. Second Harvest supplies to other food pantries and markets, and they can only be stretched so thin — and the Ross Center is doing everything it can to not turn people away.
Images: Provided by Haley Wade
Featured Image: Provided by Haley Wade