Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus 1622 1124 Harry Chapin Food Bank

Friday, June 19, 2020

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating the official end of slavery on June 19, 1865 in Texas, the last slave state. The declaration by the Union Army on that date in Galveston was made more than two-and-a-half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and marks the end of slavery in virtually all the United States. On June 19, we recognize the anniversary of this extension of freedom to all Americans, regardless of race, in fulfillment of the founding principle that all people are created equal and that liberty is a right endowed upon us all.

For the past 37 years, Harry Chapin Food Bank has served people who are hungry without regard to religion, age, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, characteristics or philosophy. Our mission is to lead our community in the fight to end hunger. That includes everyone: no one should have to go hungry. We understand that hunger has been especially severe among minorities, and that we cannot eliminate it without addressing this phenomenon. We do that by humanizing food insecurity so that we can help overcome stereotypes and by advocating for the needs of the hungry, especially those most in need of assistance. We ensure that we embody these principles within the food bank by ensuring that our team reflects and celebrates the diversity of our community, and by training ourselves to be aware of bias and to promote diversity and fairness in all that we do. To learn more about our culture and values, click here.

We celebrate that this week your food bank distributed 767,177 pounds of food to those who are hungry in our community. Because of the support of so many in our community, we served 639,314 meals this week. We give thanks that together we can have such a significant impact for everyone, whoever they are.

Our volunteer department continues to benefit from hundreds of people in the community who willing to give their time. This week we had a total of 437 volunteers who worked a total of 1,454 hours. During the current epidemic, we are committed to protecting our community, volunteers and staff. We have instituted comprehensive procedures to safeguard our staff and volunteers, including changes to maximize social distancing, frequent hand washing, the wearing of masks and gloves, and sanitization of our facilities twice a day. We have directed our employees to work remotely as much as possible. We are grateful to our volunteers and staff for their willingness to adhere to these safety guidelines.

Even so, we are not immune from Coronavirus. We were saddened to learn today that a volunteer who worked the morning shift in our Fort Myers distribution center on June 8th has tested positive. We wish our volunteer a speedy recovery. We are taking action to address this situation: We have notified the other volunteers and staff on this shift and are encouraging them to get tested and to complete a 14-day quarantine period. We are continuing to make improvements to our operations to reduce the risk of exposure to this virus.

If you are looking for food, please click here.

To support our efforts, please click here.