We’re all in this COVID-19 fight together. We are fighting back for our families as Gov. Ron DeSantis, state and federal officials are fighting for us.

In your home and in your family, Rule No.1 must be this: Help yourselves. Get the supplies needed at home for your family to ward off a small hurricane, one that won’t not knock out the power, but it’s a storm we can’t see that will linger for “a while”.

Once you have that down pat, and you’re willing and able, move on to Rule No. 2: Help those who need help who you can help.

Going forward through the next few weeks, food pantries will be at a critical need. Not enough people donate, and those who do will be helping themselves at first.

The St. Cloud Community Pantry will stay open despite COVID-19 fears and adapt to social distancing guidelines, in fact it will open today (Monday), Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The local need is too great to close, said pantry Executive Director Tammi Madison, but it will change how it distributes its needed food to families from its location at 9th Street and Missouri Avenue (901 Missouri) behind the old power plant.

If you are coming to receive food, pickup will happen at the back loading dock, and volunteers will keep the line spaced out to maintain social distancing.

“It’s a new experience, and we’re changing our procedures for the better,” Madison said. “We’ve really worked on moving people and inventory through the pantry.”

It’s a trying time at the Pantry, just like in the rest of the community, and they will take your donations of food and cash. If you’re donating food, make sure it’s straight from the store to prevent expiration. Canned items like corn, peas and green beans work best.

Volunteers are not needed, as more people inside the pantry would go against the social distancing guidelines, and Madison urges those who want to make the best positive impact to donate cash, which can be done right from the the Pantry’s website.

“With those donations, we can buy food ourselves and 19 center per pound from outreach services like Second Harvest Food Bank, and we can purchase the things we need most,” Madison said.

Thanks to charitable entities like the St. Cloud Food Pantry for continuing to make a positive difference in our community in spite of the trying times we currently face.