Weld Food Bank is taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and as such is taking necessary precautions to keep our volunteers, clients and staff safe. This is our number one priority.
However, we know during this time that we could see an increased need for food in our community. Weld Food Bank’s mission is to ensure no one in our community goes hungry, so we will continue to provide our services as they are needed now more than ever.
Weld Food Bank is carefully monitoring developments regarding the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in our community and service area. We are frequently communicating with local emergency management services and Feeding America.
The safety of our staff, volunteers and feeding partners is very important. Additional steps are being for extra sanitation to keep our facility, food and people as safe as possible during this potential threat are being taken.
As such, we are implementing the following procedures to limit exposure:
- Clients are not accessing food directly in our warehouse. We have moved to a drive thru model and clients are asked to remain in their vehicles through the entire process. Food is being packaged and then taken outside in a grocery cart for the client to load into their vehicle in a designated area. Carts are then disinfected. No clients are entering the building.
- Volunteer groups will not be interacting directly with the public. However, volunteers are critical to us at this time! We need to ensure that all perishable foods are bagged, so our volunteers who do direct client distribution can place the items directly in the cart of our clients to avoid any human to human contact. If a client enters the building and is exhibiting symptoms, they will be removed from the facility immediately.
- We are following all Weld County Health Department recommendations and will continue to closely monitor the situation. As such, we are working to ensure that there is appropriate social distancing between clients as they access food as well as increasing our deep cleaning and sanitation.
- All volunteers are asked to scrub hands with disinfectant soap upon arrival, at breaks and at the end of their shift(s).
- All volunteers and staff who have direct contact with food, people or product are provided disposable gloves and required to wear them during food handling.
- We collect contact information from all volunteers (individuals and groups). In the event of potential exposure, we will communicate as immediately as possible with all groups to explain potential risk and to ensure safety and prevention of spread.
- Our Mobile Food Pantries (MFPs) are still running. Please check weldfoodbank.org/access-a-food-program for any changes to the pantry schedule. Where possible, clients should remain in their vehicles and will drive through the MFP line, where volunteers will place food in their vehicle to avoid direct contact. At sites where a drive thru option is not available, all items will be prepackaged and placed in carts by volunteers to avoid any unnecessary human contact. We are in communication with the health department and it is possible they will shut down our MFP sites where it is not physically possible (due to space constraints, safety, and topography) to appropriately distance individuals and provide a different distribution model. All updates will be available on our Facebook page and website.
- We are currently working with Greeley-Evans School District 6 to provide our Backpacks and additional food distributions in the coming weeks.
As the situation progresses, we are putting contingency plans in place as to how we may alter our food distribution methods to ensure people at receiving this much needed food in a safe and responsible manner.
How You Can Help
Every day we serve Weld County’s most vulnerable neighbors. As we continue to take relief and prevention measures, we have already seen an increase in need. Not only will this require additional funds for the procurement of food, but we are also experiencing increased costs to ensure we have the appropriate safety and sanitation supplies to keep volunteers, clients, and staff safe.
We are also concerned about the uncertainty of the food supply chain as we move forward and the additional cost that will come with transporting food from other regions of the country. In addition, during this time when our needs are so high, we had to cancel our single largest fundraiser of the year, Stone Soup. This event typically raises enough to provide 1.4 million meals in our community.
We need your help to continue providing food. No matter how big or small, your donation will help us continue to provide food during this difficult time.
Donate Now at https://weldfoodbank.org/covid19donations/
If you are corporate or individual looking to make a major financial donation or would like to host a virtual food drive, please Stephanie Gausch, Chief Development Officer, at [email protected] or by calling 970-356-2199 x 304.
We have changed distribution methods to reduce contact between staff, volunteers and clients. As such, we need additional volunteers to help us package food so it can be safely distributed. Volunteers will not be interacting with the public while repackaging food in our warehouse. Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that all individuals visiting Weld Food Bank only do so if they have been free of fever and illness for a minimum of 48 hours.
If you have traveled to an area of the country or world impacted by Coronavirus, or are experiencing any symptoms of illness, you cannot volunteer at this time. Please join us as a volunteer when you are symptom-free for 14 days after your return date.
If you are in good health and want to assist us during this time of increased demand, please visit our volunteer page here.
Our needs are rapidly changing, as such we will be updating our volunteer needs through the above link.
Note: Minimum volunteer age is 8. All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
To best serve our food insecure neighbors, we are taking extra precautions around food donations from individuals. The specifics of that plan are still taking shape.
We are still accepting canned and boxed food donations at this time. Advice from the Feeding America has been to encourage food drives focused on cased food product donations, like what would be purchased at Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. This is an attempt to reduce food handling. Additionally, donations of personal care items and cleaning supplies are also helpful.
Weld County is resilient, and we are powerful when we join together! Help us ensure no one goes without food during this difficult time.