City Rescue Mission needs cleaning supplies, food amid coronavirus pandemic -- but not toilet paper

‘We’re good with toilet paper,’ the executive director says

Surge in people seeking shelter at City Rescue Mission
Surge in people seeking shelter at City Rescue Mission

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The City Rescue Mission is seeing an influx of people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Penny Kievet, the executive director of the City Rescue Mission, said as restaurants and other eateries are closing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which means food donations from those restaurants to local shelters will also diminish.

And just like many people have prepared their homes for the pandemic, the City Rescue Mission has also tried to stock up on cleaning supplies, such as bleach, and plenty of hand sanitizer.

Notes posted throughout its campuses remind employees to wash their hands, stressing how serious the spread of coronavirus is.

But Kievet said they could use more help keeping things clean -- from stacks of children’s book to dozens of beds.

“Last night, we had 302 people that slept with us, and we had over a thousand meals that were served,” Kievet said.

Kievet said that while the facility is privately funded, it still relies on the public for donations to help them help people in need.

“The one thing that we’ve seen is that spike that’s come about as a result of more and more homeless and addicted people who are trying to find shelter so that they can stay safe,” Kievet said.

As people who need food and shelter come in, Kievet said that they check body temperatures and for virus symptoms. So far, she said, no one has been sick with COVID-19 at their facilities.

To keep it that way, they’re asking for bleach, sanitizing wipes, plastic gloves and nonperishable foods. They’re even asking for frozen meat and, of course, cash.

There is one item that Kievet said they don’t need.

“We’re good with toilet paper,” she said. "I’m still trying to figure that one out.”

Kievet said the need will continue to rise as people in need run out of options for food. Instead of the 1,000 people who they served Monday, Kievet said that she believes that number could reach 1,500 by the weekend.

To learn how to give to the City Rescue Mission, visit

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