Food donations | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
The unsung heroes of today’s society are those working to provide basic needs, things otherwise not thought about, to people who find themselves dealing with financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic.
Caitlyn McIntosh, Wright State alumn, from The Dayton Foodbank shares what it has been like working as an essential employee serving the community.
“We’re seeing a different kind of person because now it could be the person who has never had to ask for help before or has never been in the position where they had to ask assistance from a food program. So that is the biggest difference,” said McIntosh.
Close to home
“Originally, [the food bank] was an offshoot of Red Cross so they had mentioned that when the hurricane hit in Puerto Rico, we sent a staff member down there and sent stuff like water. When the hurricane hit Texas, we sent water down there, so I kind of knew that we had a little bit of a foot in disaster relief. But it was more distant because you weren’t actively doing something yourself,” said McIntosh.
For McIntosh, this is not the first time helping in disaster relief. A week after joining the food bank, Dayton was hit with several tornadoes.
McIntosh was there to help those affected by the disaster.
“I want to help people, but you never truly know the impact you can make on somebody until you’re right in the moment. It really can be as simple as handing somebody a meal for the day that can [start] a domino effect on the rest of their life,” said McIntosh.
Response from the community
“What we are really telling people is to come help pick up for a neighbor or a family member who can’t come. The elderly who can’t get out or maybe somebody who is in a wheelchair or is immunocompromised and can’t come out [need help]. That’s been the biggest increase I’ve seen from the community,” said McIntosh.
The Dayton Foodbank has had to make changes to reflect the growing demand.
“There used to be just one lane of traffic coming in and now we’ve had to double up. For the first time ever last month, we had to limit service to once every 30 days, because frankly, we couldn’t handle people coming in. Now we’ve got that under control. It’s a constant reassessment,” said McIntosh.
Being an essential employee
“It’s really amazing to see the amount of trust that people will put in you and their story and what they’re willing to tell you and express to you about how much they’re struggling, because nobody likes to be vulnerable. It taught me a lot of empathy and compassion,” said McIntosh.
According to McIntosh, one of the biggest things said at the food bank is to suspend your judgment, and that is kept in mind every day as The Dayton Foodbank and the community work together to support one another.
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