Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – April 1

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – April 1 2200 1384 Harry Chapin Food Bank

As of Monday, April 1, 2020

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by issuing a Stay At Home Order, effective midnight on Thursday, April 2. This is a painful but prudent public health move, and we thank Governor DeSantis for taking this action.

The Stay At Home Order has several implications for your food bank. The economic impact is obviously devastating, and we expect to see an increase in demand for food as more people will experience hunger, many for the first time. Harry Chapin Food Bank is designated an “essential service” under Florida law and we are explicitly exempted from the Governor’s Executive Order. We have been anticipating that our Governor would execute this Order, and our staff, volunteers, and partner agencies have the necessary documentation and identification cards authorizing them to continue the vital work of ensuring that no one has to go hungry.

Our need for volunteers remains at a critical level for the success of our operations. The time they give is an essential ingredient in our sound financial management. If you are well, able and willing to volunteer, please click here to sign up.

This week we began our Coronavirus distribution strategy: drive-thru distributions. We distributed prepacked shelf-stable food kits and supplemented the food kits with fresh foods. While we are heartbroken at how many people waited in the car lines to receive our food kits, we are encouraged by the success of the program. We have identified twelve different locations throughout our five-county footprint, to support our distributions please click here.

We are currently operating several of our normal distributions; CSFP, Care and Share: Senior Feeding Program, and the Partner Agency Program. Shortages in retail stores have affected our operations. In the early days of this pandemic, we experienced significant reductions in donations from our normal food sourcing channels. We are starting to see a slight increase in the amount of food that we rescue from our retail stores, however, we are nowhere near our normal non-coronavirus levels. Your food bank provides our partner agencies with more than 70% of their inventory so when we experience a disruption in our food sourcing channels there is a significant trickle-down effect. Please continue to help us encourage our neighbors to stop hoarding.

Our partner agencies by and large are still open, although the number of closures has increased. We are proud of how creative many of our partners have become by changing their distribution models so that they maximize social distancing. To find the most current operating hours and dates of our partner organizations please click here.

We remain grateful to you all for your steadfast support and generosity. It is only together that we can pursue our mission to lead our community in the fight to end hunger. God bless and keep you all!

Richard LeBer

President and CEO