Community Enabled busy at new location

Published 6:21 pm Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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The new year brought many changes for many in our community and one non-profit organization has made those changes work in their best interest.

Irene Johnson, director of Escambia County Community Enabled, said a move had been needed for the food distribution facility for some time and that move became a reality in February.

“In our previous space, the landlord was looking to expand some of the office space and we simply needed some bigger space, so the hunt was on to find a new location,” Johnson said. “We began our search and we found the location that we have now.”

The new location for the Community Enabled services is at 114 Deer Street in downtown Brewton, just behind 22nd State Bank’s location.

“We are happy to have this new space,” Johnson said. “When we first looked at the location, we didn’t think it was as big as it is. But, once we got inside, there is plenty of room here to grow if we need to have more space.”

The new space allows for volunteers to receive, prepare and distribute food boxes in a better environment, Johnson said.

“We were just working on top of each other,” Johnson said. “We’ve been needing more space for some time — pretty much since we started this. We now have the space to work with some freedom and now we have plenty of room to box up food for distribution without being so confined.”

The 501©3 organization is also looking for volunteers to help with receiving and distribution that occurs every week.

“We distribute food boxes three times a week,” Johnson said. “We receive the food from Feeding the Gulf Coast and then we pack the boxes for families in our community. We are in need of some volunteers with a little muscle to help with loading and unloading. We have eight or nine wonderful volunteers who work with us now, but we are looking for some men with muscles to help with the heavy lifting.”

Food distributions are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, Johnson said, with little or no limitations.

“We used to distribute boxes based on income,” Johnson said. “But, COVID changed all of that. Now we distribute to anyone who comes looking for food. We do ask a few questions and will need name, phone number, address and the number of people living in the household. We will also be asking how many are under 18 and how many are over 60 in the household. But, other than that, there are no questions and no restrictions on who can receive a food box.”

Food distribution takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on regular distribution days with special days for more wide-reaching distribution.

“We’ve had some big food distributions recently with a big one in February and another one last month,” Johnson said. “We are planning now for a food distribution day on April 15.”

Johnson said the process for receiving food boxes this month will be the same as in the past. General distribution will begin at 9 a.m. on April 15.

“We have some people who come to get boxes to deliver to those who can’t make it to our location,” Johnson said. “We will be making arrangements to help in that distribution as well. For those who will be getting several boxes, we ask that they come at 8 a.m. on distribution day so that the boxes can be directly taken from the delivery truck and placed in their vehicles. That will eliminate some of the work for us. For those coming for just a box or maybe two, the distribution to individuals will begin at 9 a.m. that day.”

For those who would like to make arrangements for pick up of several boxes, contact the Community Enabled organization by calling 251-286-7006.