Zumwalt delivers hope, essentials amid coronavirus pandemic

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 3/25/20

Belle resident Jimmy Zumwalt announced March 16 on his Facebook page that he and his wife Wendy, along with Erica Withers-Smith and Justin Smith started a delivery service, Keep-Your-Distance …

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Zumwalt delivers hope, essentials amid coronavirus pandemic

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Belle resident Jimmy Zumwalt announced March 16 on his Facebook page that he and his wife Wendy, along with Erica Withers-Smith and Justin Smith started a delivery service, Keep-Your-Distance Catering, to bring food, groceries and other necessities to those who are homebound because of the coronavirus.

“We’ve had a few (participate), but kind of like when we hauled the hay to Kansas, it wasn’t as much what we would do but what it pumps other people to do,” Zumwalt said. “Like people who talk to us and say ‘I really didn’t think about my neighbor, I’m gonna go home to check on them.’”

Zumwalt said it was Justin Smith’s phone call that pushed him to begin the service Keep-Your-Distance Catering, which he advertised in a Facebook post that has since prompted people to check on parents, grandparents and neighbors they hadn’t thought about.

“There was one lady that actually needed groceries who lives right down the road from us,” Zumwalt said. “I think now all restaurants are shut down, there is gonna be more and more.”

In his post, Zumwalt said their primary concern is the elderly in the community, and necessities aren’t just limited to food from Maces or the local restaurants.

“One pharmacy called us and said they would give our number to a lady,” Zumwalt said.

To use services of Keep-Your-Distance Catering, call or text Zumwalt or his wife or contact their office in Belle, tell them what is needed and where the order can be picked up at least 30 minutes prior to that time.

“Maces has asked us to tell people with orders to call in before 2:30 p.m. as their employees go home at 4 p.m. so they have time to get the order ready,” Zumwalt said.

Someone from will pick up the items and drop them off on the customers porch. They can then bring the items in at their convenience.

“Get the word out there,” Zumwalt said. “We will help anybody that needs anything. If an elderly person, which is our target — I don’t want it to turn into running for somebody that is more than capable and didn’t want to go out and get it, we’re not Grub Hub — but for people elderly or disabled. We will take them groceries or prescriptions or if they need something else, call and we will talk to them and get them in touch with people who can help with their situation.”

Even though they have only helped a handful of people so far, many more have offered to help.

“My dad lives on our farm in his own tiny house — elderly people are very ritualistic. They have a system and they do that system over and over and if anything is messed up, it’s chaotic,” Zumwalt said. “They don’t respond well to change. They will say ‘I just won’t eat today ‘cause they are out of the potatoes that I buy.’ If people can just be mindful of that and remember that we are young and able and can adapt, to overcome. It is our turn to take care of them.”

As of Thursday, March 19, Maries County and the city of Belle both issued a State of Emergency order. Zumwalt thinks now that the Dinner Belle is closed and other restaurants are only open for pick-up, his service will be more essential.

“I have asked some questions, and nobody knows the answers,” Zumwalt said.” There is no rules. There is no way to know what I can do today until tomorrow. It is so uncertain, but we will rise to whatever situation comes up — we are serving and will do whatever it takes.”

Zumwalt said operations are currently being ran out of his business in Belle.

“People have stopped in to talk to us, thank us, or give us notes for people,” Zumwalt said.

If it comes to having to close the business temporarily, it will run out of the Zumwalts’ primary residence.

“We have not directly helped as many as have been helped indirectly,” Zumwalt said.

Anyone who would like to use Keep-Your-Distance Catering, call or text Zumwalt at 573-619-1860 or Wendy at 573-263-1274.

“Just like our toilet paper, we have got to shed light on dark situations sometimes,” Zumwalt said. “We just really need to encourage everybody that this is humanity’s time to shine and do your best at what you do.”

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