The People’s Pantry is helping seniors who may be stuck at home without access to food

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 7:50 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With more people practicing social distancing and staying home, one local group wants to be sure seniors in our community are getting what they need.

The People’s Pantry in northeast Columbia typically serves anyone in the community in need, but now the group is targeting the elderly.

As health officials continue to advise community members to stay home to combat the spread of the coronavirus, volunteers with the People’s Pantry say they have a facility full of food available to provide to our older community members, who may not have access to some of the most essential resources, including food.

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People’s Pantry co-founder, Cismifeccia Tynes says, “It’s most important that we reach our seniors and at-risk because when I talk, I want people to remember who they have at home. I think about my mom. She’s 65, she’s diabetic, she’s had a stroke. She’s one of those at-risk people. They’re being told to stay home, to stay away from people. So, how are they going to get to the things that they need?”

Tynes is confident that students are being covered by the state, but says seniors may still need some extra help.

“There’s no school bus riding around giving to seniors. If we can be of help, let me be of help,” said Tynes.

The People’s Pantry operates out of a facility in northeast Columbia, but only to store the food. Instead of having community members pick up the food on site, the group is hoping to find Midlands organizations that serve seniors, and then work with those groups to deliver any food supplies they may need.

Tynes says the People’s Pantry is full of volunteers with a passion to serve, and with so many people stuck at home, she says it’s important not to forget about our seniors.

“I call it our FROG network, Friends of God. That’s all it is. It’s just a bunch of friends and a bunch of people who want to serve. I’ve been going to churches saying, ‘Listen, who’s on your sick and shut in list," Tynes said.

"Who do you have that you know that’s at home and can’t get out?’ I’ve been asking for them. I’ve gone to apartment complexes and said, ‘Who do you have that are seniors that are there?”

Tynes says the group is hoping to work with community organizations in hopes of donating to larger groups, rather than individuals, but anyone is welcome to reach out to the People’s Pantry by phone at 803-260-7114 or email:

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