On a normal day, you’ll find Sandra Greenlund in the kitchen of LOFT’s 416 Community Support for Women, lovingly taking donated raw ingredients and turning them into healthy meals – 200 of them every single day. When COVID-19 hit, Sandra and the 416 team had to adapt quickly to be able to continue to meet the needs of the 416 community.
“COVID hit, and that totally put a monkey wrench in everything,” said Sandra, “I would say for the first two days it felt overwhelming.”
What were normally sit-down meals had to be planned, prepared, and packaged for take-out, and there were concerns about the food supply.
“We received notice that our deliveries might be reduced due to grocery stores running out of supplies. So I had to go through the fridge and the freezers and look at all the ingredients, all the stuff we had, and actually sit down for about three to four days and plan 65 days of meals.”
Sandra and the team made some tough decisions, adjusting how often and where we provide meals and reducing service to three days a week. Rain or shine, you’ll find Sandra and the 416 team handing out meals from the courtyard – often with passersby honking and clapping in support.
“I really enjoy those days,” says Sandra, “because I’m getting to actually chat with some of our clientele, see how they’re doing, and ask how they’re feeling.”
Sandra’s resilience and can-do attitude also led her to help other LOFT sites with their food needs when they too were affected by this crisis. On the days that she’s not making a hundred meals for the 416, she’s cooking dozens more for other programs.
“Nobody knows the time frame for when things will open up and function properly again. Right now, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The 416 Community Support for Women Program provides daily drop in-meals and programming, mental health and addictions case management, and a health and wellness program.