NARROWSBURG, NY — We may all feel a little short of hope these days. Some of us are short of food, too.
Hope and food will be shared by the bag full starting Tuesday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Tusten Hope, open to people from both Sullivan and Wayne counties, is a grassroots solution to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has sent people home from work and school. Parents no longer have income to buy food. Kids don’t get meals at school. Those ill with COVID-19 and those strictly isolating are afraid that, unable to leave home to grocery-shop, they’ll be forgotten and go hungry.
Ned Lang, Rick Lander and John Lang intend to change that. Ned Lang, a business owner in Narrowsburg, said he heard about “people running out of money, people running up their credit cards, that there were going to be food shortages. People can’t buy food.”
So the guys decided to do something about it.
Lang happened to have a spare cooler. They worked on ways to hand out food without endangering anyone, the volunteers or the people picking up food.
“I had to be mindful of logistics,” he said.
Social distancing is critical, so the Tusten Hope crew developed a system. Food comes from Pete’s Market in Narrowsburg and Dave’s Super Duper in Honesdale. Everything needing refrigeration is stored in the cooler. On the day they hand out bags, two volunteers will do traffic control, moving people from Kirks Road, around the Inn, and out Bridge Street.
Another person packs the bags, and one (or more) takes them to the cars and puts them in the backseat.
The people picking up food need to understand, he said: the only person in the vehicle should be the driver, and there must be no animals.
In most cases, “Nobody needs to get out of their car,” Lang emphasized. If the vehicle has no back seat, or if it is a pickup, they should drive around to the far end of the parking lot, where they can get their bag off a table. The aim is to protect everyone, and yet make sure that those in need can have food to eat.
At the moment, they need volunteers, a minimum of four to work each Tuesday. “An extra person would help,” Lang said.
John Lang is in charge of the website, www.Tustenhope.com, which is up this week; anyone with questions can start there.
Those who need these bags of hope should register before Tuesday for the following week, so the volunteers know how many bags to prepare. Priority on the first day will be given to people who have signed up at the Narrowsburg Ecumenical Food Pantry, Lang said.
If you know someone who is homebound or quarantined, you can pick up food for them.
“I believe Tusten Hope speaks greatly to who we are as a community,” Tusten supervisor Ben Johnson wrote in an email. “As our town is filled with residents both full-time and part-time, these hard economical times are going to bring a challenge to our local food banks as this pandemic continues, and hopefully this will help lessen the burden for everyone.”
He called on both full-time and part-time residents, especially the younger ones, to help. Tusten Hope needs volunteers; food pantries need volunteers. The people who normally do this work are isolating right now, Johnson wrote. “You may not be able to continue once we get back to normal, because of work and other commitments, but for now, I know the help would be appreciated.”
“Food sustains us,” said Ned Lang. “So does hope.”
For more information, to register, or to volunteer, see www.Tustenhope.com.
Every Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., starting Tuesday, April 14, Tusten Hope will distribute bags of food. Here’s the process:
Go to their website, www.Tustenhope.com, to learn more and sign up.
For the first Tuesday, they’re budgeting for 50 bags. People signed up with the Narrowsburg Ecumenical Food Pantry will have priority. If they run out of bags before you get one, you’ll take priority the following Tuesday.
On the day bags are handed out, follow the instructions you’re given. Only one person in the car, please, and no animals. A volunteer will put the bag in the backseat.
Do you want to volunteer or contribute in another way? See their website at www.Tustenhope.com.
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