COVID-19 Frontline Stories: Michigan social worker creates emergency food pantry

Amanda Stein (center) and some of the team at the Madison Heights Emergency Pantry (MHEP). Photo courtesy of Amanda Stein.

Amanda Stein (center) and some of the team at the Madison Heights Emergency Pantry (MHEP). Photo courtesy of Amanda Stein.

Social workers are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic but often their stories are not told. The National Association of Social Workers is sharing these stories.

One is social worker Amanda Stein, LLMSW, who lives in Madison Heights, MI. The day schools closed on March 13, Amanda recognized food insecurity would be a problem for many people. She recruited a leadership team and created the Madison Heights Food Pantry (MHFP).

The city donated the pantry a building and they quickly got donated shelves, refrigerators, food and a volunteer team. The pantry offers food pick-ups around the city but also does safe home delivery for people who are self-isolating during the epidemic.

So far MHEP has served about 2,000 people. One was a woman on oxygen who came to the pantry to get food for her family. Staff realized she and her family were at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and arranged for food delivery.

The issue is also closer to home for Amanda. She delivered a food box to a neighbor who she suspected was running short on food. “She broke into tears” because she was so grateful, Amanda said.

“The community response has been incredible and each pantry day we have cars lined up down the street,” Amanda said. “Our community resource person and pantry lead have done an amazing job in getting businesses, restaurants and the community to donate.”

NASW has resources available to help social workers. Visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page to learn more.


  1. My mom needs help with food.she dont drive cause shes afraid to catch coronavirus. So she stays in house she lives in Madison heights also.if u could deliver her food she would be so thankful.i just want her to have food and stay safe

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