The Madisonville Education and Assistance Agency (MEAC) has been “lifting up one family at a time” in their Cincinnati neighborhood since 1986. Their mission is “to offer help and hope to our neighbors in crisis by meeting their basic needs and providing education that enables them to navigate their way out of poverty.”
For the last 7 years The Church of the Redeemer has made that mission a ministry. Parishioners volunteer at the MEAC Marketplace, tutor as part of their literacy program, donate food, school supplies, clothes, household items, pack Thanksgiving care packages and host an annual Christmas dinner for 80.
MEAC normally offers a large selection of educational and social support services. Although the building is closed during this crisis, the director, social workers and emergency assistance staff members are all working from home and available by phone and email. Director Jen Baker has posted her cell phone on their website.
Following CDC regulations, the Monday Night Dinners have been put on hold until May. MEAC’s priority is making food available to their neighbors safely, so the MEAC Marketplace has changed its model. Shifting to every other week allows them to monitor the health of their employees and also limits everyone’s physical exposure to once every two weeks. They are unable to accept food donations at this time due to possible contamination. Because it is no longer operating six days a week, clients may take much more food than they could have in the past and are encouraged to stock up. Neighbors are allowed to pick up food for friends and family unable to make it to the distribution. MEAC Executive Director Jen Baker on evolving plans:
At this time we are operating our pantry in a limited capacity. We are distributing prepackaged boxes in our parking lot to families/individuals on a biweekly basis, on Tuesdays. Our next distribution is on April 7th from 10am-4pm. Last week we served 327 households, over 1000 people.
We plan to do this throughout the crisis but know that our staff’s ability to do so could change. Other factors outside our control could impact our plans. Therefore, we encourage families to come to be stocked each time, in case there comes a time we cannot serve. We have had 3 staff members (of 7 available to serve) need to self-quarantine for a time. Thankfully not all at the same time so far.
– Jen Baker, MEAC Executive Director 3/31/20
For more in depth information about their efforts to meet the needs of their community, see the updates posted on MEAC’s website.