Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 25

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus – March 25 1406 772 Harry Chapin Food Bank

As of Wednesday, March 25, 2020

As your food bank navigates these uncharted waters, we are doing everything we can possibly do to ensure that no one has to go hungry. We are facing some significant challenges.

Our operations have been affected by the shortage of food in retail stores. This food shortage is limiting our ability to service our largest food distribution program, the Partner Agency Program. This program is a network of 150 partner agencies that serve Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Lee counties. Our vetted agencies include social service agencies, faith-based congregations, nonprofits and community organizations that rely on our fleet of 17 refrigerated trucks to acquire food that we have rescued from our network of food sources. 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. We are anticipating that many of our partner agencies will close as we won’t have enough donated food to distribute due to hoarding or when (if) the government forces a shut down.

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.

We have not fully transitioned into our Coronavirus food distribution strategy. Your food bank presumptively purchased the first week of food as there is a two to three week lead time for the food to arrive. We have started to build kits and will begin distributing them next week. As funding is received, we purchase subsequent weeks of food. Our ability to provide these kits will lie squarely on our ability to raise the necessary funds.

The core of the Coronavirus distribution plan utilizes a drive-thru distribution model which we believe offers the best possible prevention of spreading the virus. At each drive-thru distribution, Harry Chapin Food Bank will distribute prepacked shelf-stable food kits and if possible, supplement the food kits with fresh products. We have identified distribution points throughout our five-county footprint. To locate food, click here.

Each kit is roughly 20 pounds of food and provides a family of four for five days. The cost is $30 per kit. Our current plan is to distribute 5,000 kits. Our cost is therefore $150,000 per week or $600,000 monthly.

Now more than ever, our mission needs the help of many to ensure that no one has to go hungry. Click here to make a gift. Together we can continue to serve those who are hungry in our community.