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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Museum Center Hosting Tuesday Holiday Food Distribution Event

Tony Dejak
Cars line up to receive food at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank food distribution, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Cleveland.

The pandemic has changed the way local organizations are distributing food for the holidays. The Freestore Foodbank used the Reds Youth Academy in Roselawn on Friday to hand out turkeys and other groceries. Tuesday, St. Vincent de Paul will help about 1,200 households with a similar distribution.
Spokeswoman Claire Luby-Colton says it will look different from previous years because of coronavirus protocols. "Normally we host this distribution on-site. Neighbors will walk up, and they enter through our building. It's almost an assembly line: they get their turkey; they get their carrots; they get their rolls; and everything along the line," she says. "This year, we've done all the preparation ahead of time. We have boxes ready to go." 

Luby-Colton says the Museum Center is hosting the distribution from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

"We looked at our facilities here at St. Vincent de Paul and we said 'We can't handle 1,200 folks driving through our parking lots. Cincinnati Museum Center has a wonderful set-up. They're literally our neighbors, so they're close to our headquarters and also to where our neighbors are living."

Luby-Colton says while demand for services is up across the board this year, the number of people who can do hands-on help has been cut. "For an organization that relies so heavily on volunteers, we've not been able to host volunteers, considering we want to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible. This distribution, we had to rethink how we can staff this thing without those volunteers who are such a critical, huge part of this every year."

She says normally, about 150 to 175 volunteers help with the distribution, but this year because of the pandemic, only St. Vincent de Paul staff and a few volunteers will be managing the event.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.