Coronavirus Update | Connecticut Food Bank

Coronavirus Update

11/Mar/20 / 10:16

Coronavirus Update – What we are doing at Connecticut Food Bank

 

Connecticut Food Bank office staff pitched in to pack food for distribution.

March 30 Update:

Last week was unusual in Connecticut, and at Connecticut Food Bank. Not just for the dramatic growth in Coronavirus cases in

our state, but for the remarkable show of support from donors, volunteers, and from our partner agencies.

 

Connecticut began the week with increased social distancing practices, and many people were unsure what that would mean for them. There were unprecedented job losses, more school closings, and rising concern among those who already struggle with hunger about their ability to keep enough food in their homes to shelter in place.

 

Connecticut Food Bank leaned in to meet growing need because our donors stepped up, our volunteers and staff faithfully reported to work, and our partner agencies moved mountains to stay open to serve more people and to increase the amount of food they handle and distribute. In one week, we distributed 520,000 pounds of food, an increase of 120,000 pounds over our average weekly output.

Partner agencies picking up orders at our Wallingford warehouse.

 

The support of our donors will help to power the increased deliveries, food sourcing costs and warehouse operations that are required in this exceptional time. And our donors are coming through, at every level and from every community. We are grateful for their support.

 

Despite the challenges of operating in the current pandemic environment, we are on track to close March 2020 with a 100,000-pound increase over March of last year.

 

We don’t know what the weeks and months ahead will hold for our communities, but this week leaves us feeling surer about our ability to help neighbors in need. Keep up with us at www.ctfoodbank.org.

Hamden emergency response team volunteers helped to staff a Mobile Pantry distribution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 20 Update:

Across our service area, nearly 270,000 food-insecure individuals struggle with hunger. The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is putting further stress on their already stretched budgets. School closings mean that thousands of children from households with low income are at risk of missing two meals they would normally receive at school. Workers are furloughed, facing layoffs, or working reduced hours. More people will turn to our network of programs for food. It is more important than ever that all people continue to have access to nutritious food and the resources they need to stay safe, healthy, and secure during this difficult time.

 

Connecticut Food Bank is adapting our operations in response to evolving needs in our communities. We are using guidance from Feeding America and the CDC to ensure best practices in providing  safe food supply. We are in regular communication with state government through an established emergency response framework. All Connecticut Food Bank staff and volunteers are taking extra precautions and adhering to stringent safe food handling protocols in accordance with current guidelines.

 

Response efforts to assist our emergency food network include the following:

 

Meeting Increased Need: Connecticut Food Bank is offering additional food deliveries to agencies and making mobile food drops in communities where partner programs may not be able to meet the need due to school closures, social distancing measures, and a shortage of volunteers.

 

Distributing Nonfood Resources: We are sourcing and providing our partner agencies with sanitation kits containing items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and tissues. Connecticut Food Bank is offering cases of plastic bags to agencies so they can prepackage an assortment of food items for minimal contact distribution to clients.

 

Deliveries to our partner agencies have increased in both order size and frequency as we work together to keep their shelves stocked.

 

Volunteers continue working at our Wallingford warehouse where they are sorting and packing food. We use strict safe food handling practices that have been enhanced by the addition of increased personal space between volunteers and the addition of handwashing and hand sanitizing stations throughout our warehouse, as well as increased cleaning frequency.

 

You can help. Please donate now to help us keep food moving in these challenging times. We are making more deliveries working to source more food. We have increased costs for cleaning equipment and supplies. If you are well and able, we welcome volunteers at our Wallingford warehouse to sort and pack food. Learn more at www.ctfoodbank.org/volunteer.

 

We always work to maintain food safety and reduce spread of Coronavirus.

 

Connecticut Food Bank safe food handling practices that are always in place will help to protect against spread of illness.

  • Volunteers and staff handling food are required to wear gloves while working.
  • Our facilities are equipped with multiple places to wash or to sanitize hands, including hand sanitizer dispensers at each entry point.
  • Surfaces where foods are placed, sorted, and prepared are sanitized before and after use in our warehouses and at Mobile Pantry distributions.
  • Our Mobile Pantries carry sanitizing supplies for our distribution tables, driver, and volunteers.

 

Volunteers and staff are encouraged to focus on health first:

  • Volunteers and staff have been told that if they are ill, they should stay home. If they have fever, cough, body aches or other symptoms reported as possible with Coronavirus, they should contact a health care provider.
  • Volunteers and staff handling food must wear gloves. If gloves are damaged, they must be replaced. After taking breaks, all must wash hands thoroughly and put on fresh gloves before returning to work.
  • There are hand sanitizers and handwashing locations throughout our buildings. Sanitizing wipes are used at mobile food distributions.

 

We are working to ensure households have access to food:

  • Connecticut Food Bank continues to supply our network of 600 partners and programs with food.
  • We are grateful for the support of food industry donations and financial support from the public that support our work to source, store, and transport food in our six-county service area.
  • We are working with other Feeding America Food Banks to share best practices and situational experience to better plan for changes in distribution if required due to impacts from COVID-19 Coronavirus.