Metro Detroiters line up for food donations as COVID-19 pandemic drags on

We're nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and, while there's been some good news on the vaccination front, the virus isn't going anywhere. That's where places like Atlas Wholesale Food Company are able to step in to fill a need.

With a little more than a week until Thanksgiving, the weather is fall-like, the masks were on, and people bundled up outside the Prayer Temple of Love Church in Highland Park helped pass out fresh food to those in need.

People like Ivan King. He waited in line after falling on hard times two months ago due to the pandemic. He said while he's waiting in line for him and his family, he's helping out friends who won't have cars as well.

"It’s a good thing in a bad situation," King said. "Unemployment and other situations and COVID, like myself, my job got cut - it’s off and on, so we band together and deliver a lot of food."

The line outside the church started to form around 8:30 Monday morning and stretched around the block all day.

John Kohl from Atlas said the need skyrocketed in the pandemic.

"The fact we can help be an integral part of helping feed our community gives us a lot of drive ," Kohl said.

In May, the company received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to distribute 11 million pounds of food to hundreds of sites across the state, like the Highland Park church.

He said he's been busy for the past 6 months.

"It’s about 60,000 boxes a week that are getting distributed like this," he said. "We're so blessed to be able to use our resources our assets our employees, our network -  to be able to do something that means so much to people in Michigan."

As Thanksgiving draws near, there's a lot to be grateful for while those who helped deliver the food say they're just happy to be part of the solution.

"It’s overwhelming because you never know how many people are in need and to be able to help them out during this uncertain time, it’s truly a blessing," said pastor Ricardo Smith.