Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 17

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 17 1280 960 Harry Chapin Food Bank

As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Your food bank is working tirelessly to meet increasing demands, shifting food resources and food distribution models. Although we have yet not moved fully into our next phase of innovative food distribution, we are complying with mandated social distancing and taking additional steps to prevent spreading the virus.

The above photo was taken today in Collier County at our mobile pantry distribution. Social distancing practices are in full swing. Our volunteers are wearing gloves. They are not wearing masks, because the CDC recommends against it. No one who has been out the country or is not feeling well is being allowed to volunteer.

We are continuing to evaluate how to evaluate and improve our operations as the pandemic evolves, and as we receive additional guidance from the CDC and other authorities.

Due to shifting food resources, we have had to make a few changes to the schedule of our mobile pantry distributions this week. This may continue to occur. Anyone planning to attend a mobile pantry should check the latest schedule, which can be found here: https://harrychapinfoodbank.org/our-impact/programs/mobile-pantry-schedule.

Our partner agencies are still open. In fact, we know of only four that have closed at this point. Many of our partners have changed their distribution models to be drive-thru or by appointment only. We are doing our best to keep their hours of operation current on our website. Click here to find food from one of our partner agencies.

Your food bank firmly believes that we are in a marathon and not a sprint. We have not fully transitioned into the next phase of food distribution. This transition will happen as our traditional food rescuing sources become insufficient and we secure funding for this costly model.

The next phase is to utilize a drive-thru distribution model. This model necessitates distributing prepacked shelf stable food kits and if possible, supplementing the kits with fresh products. We have identified distribution points throughout our five-county footprint and continue to seek additional sites that are conducive to this model of food distribution. We have begun building food kits and need volunteers to help build and distribute these kits.

We have built a volunteer schedule that staggers and limits the numbers of volunteers in our facilities to protect their safety while meeting the tremendous demand for a volunteer workforce. If you are able, well and willing to help in our warehouse or with the distribution efforts, please click here to sign up.

Now more than ever, we need your support.  If you feel led to contribute to support our efforts, please click here to make a gift.

We are grateful for our ongoing partnerships and are reminded that only together we can continue to serve those who are hungry in our community.

Below is an interactive map from the Florida Department of Health, updated in realtime, tracking COVID-19 cases in Florida counties.