As demand increases at Elmore County Food Pantry due to the impact of COVID-19, a Wetumpka pest control company stepped in to help.
Zap Pest Control owner Frank Bertarelli and employees of the company gave the food pantry’s parking lot a makeover free of charge. Bertarelli said his company decided to help because the food pantry fulfills a major community need.
“At times like this, some people are not working,” he said. “Volunteer help at the pantry is down because people are scared to get out. This is something that needed to be done.”
Food pantry director Kathy Hall said she appreciates Zap for lending a helping hand.
“The parking lot is amazing; it looks so much better,” Hall said. “The fact they are here and supporting us allows us to do what we do.”
Hall said the refreshed parking lot came at a perfect time due to the fact the organization’s client roster increased by 100 clients to 700 clients since COVID-19 arrived on the scene.
“We have had a big demand at the food pantry,” she said. “From March to June 4,782 pounds of food has been sent out to just to the 100 new clients.”
Hall also said from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday 92 clients drove through to pick up food. That equals one client every two minutes.
Bertarelli and his team repainted all parking lines bright white, straightened up and repainted out-of-place parking blocks and repainted the handicapped parking area.
Bertarelli said the company picks one project a month to work on.
“Every month we try to pick somebody, something or one of our customers that really needs something done,” he said. “The volunteers here (at the food pantry) are not able to get out and do this kind of work around the building. This is our monthly community thing.”
Bertarelli said the food pantry provided the paint and Zap provided the machine and labor.
“If you call a company out here to do this work, it would have been very expensive,” he said. “It’s nothing really fancy, but it makes the food pantry look presentable. When people come in here to park, they can actually see where they need to go.”
Hall said the improved parking facilities will be welcomed when the food pantry holds a yard sale, car show and silent auction event in late July.
“This big fundraiser is going to go back in to buying food for those clients,” she said.
Hall said the silent auction items are impressive.
“We received from the Montgomery Biscuits a prize pack that has eight tickets behind home plate,” she said. “It also comes with a VIP tour and a first pitch opportunity.”
The event raised $2,600 last year. Hall encouraged the public to come out to the event and support the food pantry either through monetary donations or food donations.
Hall is hoping the food pantry can reopen later this summer.
“We are hoping to open the doors again in August,” she said. “We are really set up more as an in-house food pantry.”
Bertarelli said he and his staff will continue to help the community.
“We want people here locally to know Zap puts back in to the community and we appreciate the people who support us,” he said. “If it was not for the people in the community investing in us, we could not stop and give back to the community for the ones who need it.”