The Chestermere Food Bank Board is implementing new measures with hamper distribution to keep staff, volunteers, and clients safe during COVID-19.
“In order to keep our staff, volunteers and clients safe, we have reduced hours and implemented a number of safety protocols,” said Chestermere Food Bank President Laurie Dunn.
Adding, “As an essential service, we did not want to close in the face if this adversity, but we ask that donors and clients please adhere to our new rules.”
Under the new measures, all volunteers over 70 years of age, volunteers with asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and volunteers with respiratory or health conditions have been asked to take time off, as they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
“We also ask that children under 14 years of age be kept away from our facility as they can easily transmit the virus with no symptoms themselves,” said the Chestermere Food Bank Executive Director, Mardi Oel.
The Chestermere Food Bank Board anticipates that the transportation of donations, repackaging of food, and the transportation and bagging of bread should not be an issue, because volunteers generally don’t have any contact with others, and they wear protective gloves.
“We have discontinued shopping for perishables, so our shoppers are laid off at the moment other than essential non-perishables,” Oel said.
The Chestermere Food Bank is in close contact with Food Banks Alberta and Food Banks Canada and have been advised of the various measures’ food banks are taking.
All volunteers must wear vinyl gloves while handling all hampers, and volunteers must maintain a three-metre distance from clients.
In addition, all incoming donations will be sanitized, and all surfaces will be sanitized, including countertops, doorknobs, and light switches before volunteers leave.
“All volunteers and staff agreeing to work under these conditions will be required to sign a consent to the effect that they are aware of the risks and are willingly and physically able to perform these duties,” Oel said.
With the new measures in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, Hamper appointments will be Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. until further notice.
No perishables will be provided with the hamper except for bread.
Clients must confirm their appointment with the Chestermere Food Bank via email.
Clients must also let the Chestermere Food Bank know their bread preference, and they must be on time for their appointment.
Clients are asked to take the entire hamper. Anything the client doesn’t want can be left at drop off locations at No Frills or Safeway.
Currently, the Bread & Extras, Snack Attack, and Food for Thought programs have been suspended.
Although the Chestermere Food Bank office is closed, communication can be made through voicemail, email, Facebook, or through the website at http://chestermerefoodbank.ca/.
“We will happily make arrangements for donations or emergency hampers in the meantime, all by appointment,” Oel said.