BALDWIN TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – An update to pass along Sunday in regards to the Baldwin Borough Food Pantry.
KDKA reported Wednesday that due to coronavirus concerns, the pantry’s coordinator, Gail Mikush, said she could no longer operate out of the Baldwin EMS building.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller learned the pantry will now set up shop inside the Baldwin Library and Mikush gave her a virtual tour.
“There’s the spaghetti sauce, the juice, some drinks,” she said while showing the new location.
A peek inside the temporary Baldwin Borough Food Pantry Sunday shows volunteers wearing masks and unpacking after the big move.
“Because of you interviewing us last week, the librarian Jennifer Whorley called me and offered us space temporarily while the building is closed and then she had to get board approval that night which she did,” said Mikush.
A huge improvement, she said, since this past Wednesday when KDKA first interviewed her regarding her concerns over the pantry.
At the time, Mikush expressed frustrations over needing to relocate her pantry from the Baldwin EMS building, the space she’s called home for 30 years.
Before the story aired on Wednesday, KDKA reached out several times to Baldwin EMS to learn more about the reasoning for the pantry’s relocation and also any possible solutions currently on the table. The Baldwin EMS Chief Todd Plunkett sent KDKA an email Saturday containing a media release outlining several details.
The release stated, in part:
“The food bank location, that has been housed within the EMS facility for 30 years, is located directly in the middle of the operating areas of the EMS crews. This decision was not made lightly but it was determined that EMS workers who would be, and still continue to be exposed to COVID-19 should not be coming in contact with the public (food bank workers and public receiving food distribution) in their station.”
The release continued by saying:
“Personnel, equipment, and ambulances that are contaminated return to the EMS station and decontaminate at this location. On March 16th our department liaison to the food bank notified the food bank leadership that changes and alternative methods and locations would need to be put in place.”
Mikush said she understands Chief Plunkett’s concerns, but wishes things had been “handled differently.”
She told KDKA on Sunday that she was very appreciative of the help given by Baldwin’s first responders this past weekend.
“The assistant chief down there named Chris Dell – he is an absolutely wonderful man. He organized this yesterday and he also organized our distribution last month said Mikush. “He’s been absolutely wonderful and I can’t thank him and the EMS personnel enough.”
The Baldwin Library posted several photos to Facebook, showing the first responders in action as they volunteered their time to relocate the thousands of pounds of food.
A wonderful solution for the time being, Mikush said. But she’s still actively looking for the pantry’s new permanent home.
“As it stands right now we do only have 3 other places that we’re waiting to hear back from that we can check into and if we don’t have anything by the time the library needs us to be out of here then we are going to have to disband our organization, said Mikush.