Emergency food center remains open
As the pandemic rages through the world, confusion about virtually everything—including what businesses and services are open—has become the new normal. Some people who would benefit from visiting the Heights Emergency Food Center (HEFC) may not be aware that it is open for business. And visiting the center does not represent an undue risk, as stringent safety precautions are being enforced.
Located at 3663 Mayfield Road (at Disciples Christian Church), the center (216-381-0707) is currently open Mondays, 4–6 p.m.; Tuesdays, 9–11:30 a.m.; Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Fridays, 9–11:30 a.m. On the last two Thursdays of each month, it also is open 5:30–7:30 p.m.
A new client intake area has been established; the chairs in this expanded space are located at least six feet apart. Clients are separated from the intake volunteer by a Plexiglas shield. Only volunteers touch the computer, as clients no longer need to enter their initials to certify that the information they provide is correct.
Hand sanitizer is available at the intake table. To minimize handling, food is prepackaged. Clients are asked not to unpack and return any food, and food is picked up from a table at a separate door to maintain social distance. The center is cleaned at the end of each shift, and three additional times each week.
During normal times, HEFC serves only clients who live in Cleveland Heights, University Heights, South Euclid and Lyndhurst, but during the pandemic these boundaries are not being strictly enforced.
The center does not offer delivery or drive-through service, but volunteers can assist clients as they take food to their cars.
Income limits that determine eligibility to receive food assistance have been raised: the cutoff point for a family of four is set at $59,225 annually. Clients do not have to provide documentation that verifies their income. Clients must show an ID, such as a driver’s license, each time they visit the center. They must also provide the names and birthdates of every person in their household, as this information is required for government-mandated records.
Harriet Tramer is a longtime Heights resident who has worked as a journalist. She is a volunteer at the Heights Emergency Food Center.