Markle Do it Best Hardware in Markle, Indiana, was one of the only businesses still open in its community when Indiana required all nonessential businesses to close due to COVID-19.
The store not only stayed open and served the rush of customers who needed cleaning supplies and toilet paper, but it also partnered with a local food pantry to help people in need.
The store is located within walking distance of low-income housing, and people were struggling to make ends meet as other businesses closed and area residents lost their incomes.
A representative from the food pantry contacted Markle’s co-owner Whitney McBride, asking if the store could serve as a spot for giving out free toiletries and nonperishable foods.
The organization provided a bookshelf, placed it at the front of the store and filled it with food pantry items. The store’s staff kept the shelves full and loosely monitored who took supplies to be sure they didn’t take more than three items at a time.
When Markle Do it Best customers found out about the satellite food pantry at the store, they began donating more cereal, snacks, canned goods and shampoo than the shelves could hold.
From March to May, people in need trickled in every day to get the free supplies at the store. No one who was hungry left without food, McBride says, and everything extra went to the food pantry’s main location.
“This was very easy to say yes to,” McBride says. “We have been blessed to stay open and phenomenally blessed to have business.”