HELENA — After more than a year, the doors of the Helena Food Share’s Lewis Street pantry are open to customers again.
Volunteers spent the morning of Tuesday, June 1 readying the pantry, stocking groceries and preparing to welcome people back.
“We got to a place where we feel like we’re able now to open our doors, allow more people into the building,” Helena Food Share executive director Bruce Day said. “The important thing is we’re now able to allow customers to come inside, as they used to.”
COVID-19 forced the Helena Food Share to stop customer choice shopping at the Lewis Street and East Helena pantry locations. Choice shopping was replaced with a grab-and-go, pre-packed grocery option people could pick up at the pantry.
While reopening the Lewis Street pantry is a step toward normalcy, there are still COVID-19 precautions in place.
A limited number of shoppers may be in the building at once to allow for social distancing, and anyone who has not been vaccinated is asked to wear a mask inside.
Although things are not totally back to normal, Day said it’s nice to see customers and have face-to-face interactions again.
“Helena Food Share has been a place for a lot of people where they felt like they were treated with dignity and respect and no judgement about being here,” Day said. “All of that was sort of missed when we were serving customers at the front door, it just wasn’t that personal connection.”
Food Share is still doing grab-and-go service if customers are uncomfortable going inside. More information about pantry hours can be found here.