By JEREMY BURNHAM
Staff reporter 

Community joins forces to feed community

 

Last updated 5/7/2020 at 10:12am

AIRWAY HEIGHTS — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, foodbanks, churches, community members and businesses are teaming up to feed those in need.

Cleone’s Closet Food Pantry is a food pantry in Airway Heights operated by Women’s Healing and Empowerment Network, or “WHEN.”

While WHEN is an organization aimed at supporting woman who are the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, the food pantry is open to all people in need.

“Everyone can use the pantry,” WHEN founder and President Mable Dunbar said.

Food provided by the pantry is donated. With many people out of work during the pandemic, the pantry has needed extra help getting enough food to feed its clients.

Dunbar says some in the community have stepped up.

Steve and Kelly Burton, owners of the Airway Heights Grocery Outlet, used Facebook to get involved.

“We wanted a way where people could donate food in a way that wouldn’t hurt their pocketbook in a time when no one has any money to give,” Steve Burton said. “So, we setup a like, share and comment post.”

The Burtons donated food items to the Airway Heights Food Bank and Cleone’s Closet Food Pantry for every like, comment and share the post received. The end result was about $3,000 of food going to each food bank.

“People always need help,” Steve Burton said. “At the moment, people need a little extra help. There is a lot of financial uncertainty for families and we are in a position where we can help take care of those folks who live in our community.”


Dunbar says community support has been essential in keeping the pantry open.

“Pastor Jacob Powers and the Heights Church gives us $500 every month,” Dunbar said. “Without their help, there would be no pantry.”

Heights Church isn’t the only church involved. Hope Baptist Church, Airway Heights Baptist Church and Crossroads Church have all also contributed food or funding to the project.

“We have collaborated together to help our community,” Hope Baptist Church Pastor John Schrock said. “We have had thousands of pounds of food come in at donation sites. It has been a real community effort.”

Dunbar agrees.

“We get food from Grocery Outlet, we get food from Walmart and Yokes,” Dunbar said. “We get food from Starbucks. It’s a community effort.”

Cleone’s Closet Food Pantry is located at 13114, W. Sunset Highway in Airway Heights and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12-3 p.m.

Jeremy Burnham can be contacted at jeremy@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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