The COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes’ (KLF) 38-year service model. Prior to the pandemic, KLF operated a network of 30 pantries throughout Kalamazoo County. Clients were able to shop in-person and had a bank of “points” to spend on their groceries. Overnight, this model changed to curbside pickup at just a few locations and KLF was able to continue operations throughout the entirety of the pandemic.
To provide greater accessibility, KLF launched a home delivery program in March 2020, which has grown to 70 deliveries each day. While both curbside pickup and home delivery were born out of necessity, clients report preferring these service elements over the pre-pandemic model. KLF currently has 21 pantries in its network, including 11 school-based units. Six additional mobile food distributions were added, resulting in 12 distributions throughout Kalamazoo County each month
KLF also increased targeted outreach services to support those with unique food needs, including individuals facing homelessness and refugees seeking safety. New partnerships were formed involving several new agencies who secure food from KLF to provide their clients with congregate meals, emergency packs or pantry items. Since the beginning of the pandemic, KLF has served over 3,000 brand new households. On average, KLF provides food assistance to 27,000 unduplicated individuals each year from just over 10,000 households.
For more information, visit www.kzoolf.org