WINCHESTER — As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve in Eastern Ontario, Community Food Share is modifying protocols to have best practices in place for the safety of our volunteers, clients, donors and suppliers. We are also carefully planning to ensure we can support the community as much as possible.
Community Food Share continues to follow guidelines as set out by The Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Ontario Health and Feed Ontario and Health Canada. In the last week, a number of updates were made to our locations to help minimize risks, including screening/symptom signage both outside and inside the food banks and food cupboards. In addition, some operating procedures have been modified that both protect everyone and ensure the community is being served:
- We will be following all of the current recommendations for sanitary practice in our service sites.
- All staff and volunteers, suppliers entering the food banks will be expected to sanitize hands, wash hands as well as sign in/sign out.
- Appointments will be completed by phone/email.
- Individuals who have recently returned from out-of-country travel, or who may have otherwise been exposed to the virus, are encouraged to conform to the 14-day self-isolation recommendation. Likewise, anyone having a fever, cough or are experiencing shortness of breath are asked not to enter our sites. Instead, anybody in these circumstances who require food assistance can contact Community Food Share and volunteers will arrange a solution on a case-by-case basis.
- Client income tax clinics have been postponed until the week of April 6.
- Where practical, our advocate will assist clients with other well-being issues pending the clarification of government support for vulnerable citizens.
- To minimize risk of infection, we are asking the community to reduce food donations directly to our food banks. Cash, gift cards, and prepackaged assortments at local grocery stores are preferred at this time.
Above all, Community Food Share will remain open to serve all those in our region who are struggling through this difficult time. We are anticipating higher-than-usual volume and are asking for community help in donating gift cards or cash/cheque and online donations so we may purchase our most needed items. At this time we are running short of canned chili and stews, pasta sauce and diced tomatoes.
Food insecurity is already too real for many people in our community and we expect it to increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak for a number of reasons:
- Individuals living in poverty or with a low income are often unable to stockpile extra food or medicine in the event of sudden illness or quarantine.
- Those affected by the virus may have to take unpaid leave from work to care for themselves or loved ones. As well, the current State of Emergency in Ontario will cause a number of workers to be temporarily out of work. This loss in income could significantly shift the financial well-being of these households.
- Parents will have to pay for extra childcare, adding to the question of how they will pay for groceries.
- We are also concerned about the long-term effects that COVID-19 may have on the economy and in turn, low-income families in Ontario.
The shelves at Community Food Share’s food banks will be a little barer as we deal with shortages and adjust for higher demand. Plus, some volunteers we depend on may be unable to take on their regular shifts for a number of reasons. As such, we are reaching out to our neighbours for support. Donations can be mailed at the addresses below or made online at www.communityfoodshare.ca/donate.
Community Food Share – Winchester
Box 32, Winchester, ON
Community Food Share – Morrisburg
Box 563, Morrisburg, ON
Online Donations: www.communityfoodshare.ca/donate