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Don Remington, a board member for the 12 Baskets food program in El Dorado, can remember the days before COVID-19. It’s easy. He’s been part of the program for 27 years, while COVID-19 has only been around for a couple of months.

Before COVID-19, the program helped between 165 and 185 families — or 450 individuals — with food boxes each month.

That number, he said, has escalated since the pandemic began affecting Kansas and stay-at-home orders have resulted in job loss.

"Since this has begun, every month has been in excess of 200. The last one was 210," Remington said.

He also believes the program, and a new distribution it has started, can help even more Butler County families suffering from food insecurity.

"I really feel there are more families out there who are in need of assistance than we are seeing," said board member Don Remington of 12 baskets.

12 Baskets, based in El Dorado, has been supporting the food needy in Butler County for more than 24 years. The program hosts a regular food distribution monthly from 8:30 to 11 a.m. the third Saturday of every month.

The program helps about 210 families each month, and is launching a new program to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called the Disaster Household Distribution, there will be three distributions a week. Food items like macaroni and cheese; powdered milk, eggs; pork chops; beef stew; canned fruits and canned meats will be available through the program.

There are no income qualifications needed for the CDHD program. Any Butler County resident is eligible.

"All you have to do for us is show your residence in Buter County and let us know how many people are in your household," Remington said.

Program participants can get a box through the CDHD each month. It is unclear how long the program will be in place.

"Even if the CDHD program folds its tents up and stops, we will continue to try and help people," Remignton said.

That could include participating in the normal USDA program or a church based program also available through 12 Baskets.

The program will serve specifically those who have never been to 12 Baskets before — however, anyone who has a severe food need will be served. The organization will not turn anyone in need away.

"This program is specifically designed to aid families whose income has been affected by job loss and lay-offs due to COVID-19," Remington said.

Currently we have started a special distribution for those folks, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10 am.

Guidelines for 12 Baskets Distribution.

1. Do not arrive before 8 a.m.

2. Do not exit your vehicle for any reason.

3. Please line up starting west of the alley behind the church (in your vehicle) forming a line to the east on Locust and then to the south on Emporia then to the west (for 2 blocks) on Carr and then north on Topeka. Volunteers will do guide clients to their place in line.

4. Volunteers will check you in at the entrance to the alley.

5. Please have your trunk or backseat prepared for receiving a box. If possible, pop your trunk or open your backseat door once you reach the front of the line.

For more information, call Remington at 316-390-8727