Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 19

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 19 1709 887 Harry Chapin Food Bank

As of Thursday, March 19, 2020

This crisis has affected our operations. We have taken steps to maximize social distancing in our operations to protect our staff, volunteers and clients as the pandemic progresses. We are continuing to evaluate how to improve our operations as the pandemic evolves, and as we receive additional guidance from the CDC and other authorities.

While practicing social distancing, we are currently operating most of our normal distributions; to our partner organizations, our CSFP and Care and Share: Senior Feeding Program and our Fulfill Mobile Pantries. But change is coming. With schools closed, pantries in schools are also shut down. We are starting to experience significant reductions in donations from our normal food sourcing channels, such as retail stores. As these sources dry up, we will have to move to a different operational model, requiring the purchase of food. We have already purchased two weeks’ worth of food and will continue to order food items to provide for subsequent weeks of food. We expect to move into our next phase of innovative food distribution by the end of March.

The next phase is to utilize a drive-thru distribution model which we believe offers the best possible prevention of spreading the virus. At each drive-thru distribution, your food bank will distribute prepacked shelf-stable food kits and if possible, supplementing the kits with fresh products. We have identified possible distribution points throughout our five-county footprint. We will share those distribution sites as they become finalized.

Volunteers are at the heart of our operations. The time they give is an essential ingredient in our sound financial management. It is a challenge to protect them while meeting our tremendous demand for volunteers. 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 have adjusted our volunteer schedule to stagger and limit the number of volunteers in our facilities. As volunteers arrive for a volunteer shift, we are inquiring of their health and about possible recent travels. We will not allow anyone who has been out of the country or not feeling well to volunteer. If you are well, able and willing to volunteer, please click here to sign up.

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 by clicking here.

Our partner agencies are still open, although the number of closures has increased. 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. Anyone planning to visit a partner agency pantry should call the agency prior to their arrival, click here for a link to our partner agencies.

Now more than ever, we need your support.  If you feel led to contribute to support our efforts, please 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.