Rob Harter, director of the Park City Christian Center, says one statement he’s heard a lot lately is “What a year last week was!”
Amid the disruption, uncertainty and stress, Harter said the Center is continuing to offer help to locals. But like everybody else, they’re trying to follow proper standards of health, safety and social distancing, for themselves and their patrons.
In his latest report to KPCW, Harter said they’ve been very busy with their Food Pantries, located in both Park City and Heber. He said that last week, they served nearly 900 people.
“We do ask people to sign up online. If you’re in Park City or Heber Valley, just sign up. That way we are prepared for you. We’re basically putting together a box of food. So it’s a grab-and-go system, much like the restaurants are doing. The one slight change this week will be, it’s gonna be a little bit more of a drive-through, again, just to make it safe for everybody, even another step safer. I talked to the Health Department and we’re gonna do a drive-through—meaning, where people normally would drop off donations of furniture and clothes, etc, we’re asking the people that are looking for the Food Pantry to just come into that same spot—so, you just drive through our roundabout if you will, in the back side of the Christian Center, and we will load up the food into your car. And that way you don’t have to get out. Again, it’s just a little bit more social distancing there.”
He said they’re grateful for the food donations from the resorts and restaurateur Bill White.
Harter said that patrons can’t exactly place a food order like a restaurant menu. But they will arrange orders that are gluten- or dairy-free if a recipient asks.
He said they can provide some other items too.
“If they need dog food or cat food, we do have that available as well. And then we’ve got—amazingly we got a little bit of toilet paper. And so we’re giving each person a bit of toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products, anything else that are in addition to food that you may need as well.”
He’s asking supporters not to personally donate food, for health reasons. Harter said they may come up with a system where someone can place an order with a food outlet and have it delivered to the Christian Center.
He said their need right now is for money. That can help them obtain further food supplies.
“Depends on how long this goes, but if we continue to have a shutdown, where everything is shut down, for the next couple of weeks--the food that we’ve received from the restaurants and the resorts has been fantastic, but those won’t last forever. Typically, we get food Monday through Saturday from the grocery stores. It’s fresh. And that has dripped down to very minimal, and understandably so. They’re cleaning out their shelves every day, it seems like, and they don’t have as much to give. So we don’t have as much fresh food to give. So that would be one of those things. We’ve already made two orders. We’re making another order today, just to supplement food so that we have extra food. So that’s where the money’s going.”
The other major use for dollars is their Basic Needs Assistance Fund. Harter said they have nearly 120 people signed up to get help on items such as rent, utility bills and medical costs, and that number will likely double.
Meanwhile, residents busy with spring cleaning might have items to deliver to the Thrift Store. But Harter said that, again for health reasons, they aren’t accepting material this week.
“At this point, through this week, we’re going to hold off, and then we’ll find out more. We’re coming up, maybe a solution where they could drop it off at a certain, different times, like the Recycle Utah’s doing, kind of basically the evenings and early mornings. And then we could sort through it. So we’re sorting through that to make sure again that it’s super-safe for everybody.”
Harter said they’re not looking for volunteers right now. They might need some help later, to make deliveries to the elderly and shut-ins.
“Again, that’s safe and done well. And that would be something where we’d love to have some volunteers that are willing to deliver food. And it could be one of those where literally you drop it off at the porch, ring the doorbell, and leave. And there’s no interaction per se. You can be very safe, but also get food to people who really need it.”
Finally, Harter said Mental Health counseling is available, on a tele-health system. You can contact Heather at the Center, by calling 649—2260, Extension 1, or go online to “counseling@CCofPC.org.”