“Hero’s Working Here” for Flint & Genesee County!
At the R.L. Jones Community Outreach Center (C.O.C.), we address the essential needs of our Community by providing the necessities to help our clients move past crisis which is important during this pandemic. We provide services to 3,868 residents through the different divisions of the C.O.C.
The Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Program Delivery Services division has grown exponentially; it provides critical resources to citizens at their place of residence. The need has increased so much since the COVID-19 crisis, we brought on a second driver to handle the deliveries. The drivers are provided from our partnership with MTA who has even provided a supervisor to assist with Thursday deliveries. The Your Ride food and water deliveries have increased from 45 to 150-200 people; no house is unaccounted for on their route. Many deliveries go to senior facilities under lockdown from of the crisis.
The COC delivers food, personal care and household items, as well as diapers and adult wear to over 3,000 residents in 965 households. Most of these numbers have doubled since February 2020 from COVID-19.
Having children at home all day during the pandemic has also increased the amount of food needed by families. While there are distribution sites set up for children up to age 19, many families cannot get to the buildings where the food is being distributed. The school district reduced the sites for distribution which has made the distance to some locations substantial. Families depend on public transportation and might not be able to get to a food distribution site. The need for water delivery for seniors over the age of 65 is higher and requests for personal care items have increased.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we were providing food, clothing and personal care items to 1,102 households per week. Since the beginning of February 2020, we have added an additional 262 households bringing our total households receiving deliveries up to 1,364 per week. We are also serving as an agent for other organizations who are doing their own food distributions due to the pandemic. We are able to serve as their agent with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The Help Center division services on average of 460-520 vehicles per week at the drive through distribution. Every Thursday, food, water and other essential needs are distributed. Typically one or two residents will come to the drive through distribution to get supplies for the entire household.
The continued expansion of our weekly services where we have seen a 30 percent increase in demand since the COVID-19 crisis began. In a typical week, we distribute 1,404 cases of water, 10 pallets of food, and personal care items.
The items distributed through all divisions have expanded. We now provide detergent, disinfectant cleaning supplies and Clorox to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Families are also showing an increased need for baby food, toothpaste, bath soap, deodorant, milk, diapers, adult diapers, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and snacks.
Another area we expanded was through our regular staff support from bringing on an additional driver and food distribution workers to increase stipends for volunteers. Additionally, brought on additional administrative support to handle programming and funding requests for relief funds and grant programs related to the current COVID-19 crisis.
Finally, we continue to provide fresh water to families through the use of our WaterGen machine. Much like a dehumidifier, the WaterGen pulls moisture from the atmosphere, filters and then cools the moisture to produce clean, drinkable water. The current capacity of the filtration system is 53 gallons that can be produced and stored per day to distribute to families through the Help Center and our AFN division. Water distribution is critical during the pandemic since many stores have ran out of bottled water.
Our current service area is concentrated on the Northeast corner of Flint, parts of Burton, Mt. Morris, Clio and points in between. This area continues to grow as we serve as agents for food distribution on behalf of other organizations who service families beyond our concentrated area of distribution.
For our Access & Functional Needs program, most of our residential clients we serve, live in the 48502, 48503, 48504, 48505, 48506 and 48507 zip codes and are low/moderate limited income persons.
- 2,815 (up from 2,791 prior to the pandemic) AFN Residents of which the majority are Disabled and Seniors in 48504 and 48505 zip codes.
- 1,149 (up from 1,077 prior to the pandemic) Additional AFN Residents of Disabled and Seniors in 48503, 06, 07 and 09 zip codes.
- 139 (up from 116 prior to the pandemic) are babies who need diapers and food to eat.
- 226 (up from 186 prior to the pandemic) are toddlers who are the age who need lead mitigating foods for their growth and mental stability. Because some of these children were born during the Water Crisis and are delayed where they are still in diapers.
- 246 (up from 198 prior to the pandemic) are adolescence and who were babies and toddlers when the Water Crisis was discovered; it is important to continue to provide them with the lead mitigating food during the COVID-19 crisis because these nutritious foods are a definite necessity for their development.
- 193 (up from 151 prior to the pandemic) teens of who are still dealing with problems related to lead exposure and need access to lead mitigating food during the current crisis.
The households serviced through the Help Center are predominantly from the 48504 and 48505 zip codes with some families from 48502, 48503, 48506 and 48507. We are averaging 460-520 cars per week at our Thursday distributions.
We are now serving as an agent for other churches and organizations to provide food from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for them to distribute to their clients during the COVID 19-Pandemic. The Food Bank is not able to take on new agents at this time, so we are serving as one to get the food and then distribute to groups including Oak Street Health and Jackson Memorial Church of God in Christ. Additionally, we receive referrals through Hamilton Community Health Network and Genesee Health Plan. We also continue to support the City of Flint.
Corporate partnerships include working with Nestle for water and Bed, Bath & Beyond to provide household goods to our families. We have even partnered with Dominos Pizza which will be providing free pizzas to families during one of our food distribution days.
Finally, the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) has generously provided the two drivers for our Access and Functional Needs (AFN) Delivery to households in our service area which continues to expand on a weekly basis. They have even brought on a supervisor to oversee the Your Ride Distribution of food and water to residents.
We are currently working with the Community Care Task Force – Genesee County Emergency Operation Center Strategy as well.