As a member of Feeding America, the national network of 200 food banks, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Food Bank of the Hudson Valley are in close communication with this network, sharing contingency plans and best practices. In a recent statement regarding its COVID-19 planning, Feeding America emphasized it is “…actively consulting with FEMA, National VOAD (National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), the USDA and leveraging other partners who are in a position to support measures to ensure access to food for the most vulnerable members of our communities during this situation.”
For Our Volunteers: 4/18/20 Update re Volunteer Precautions
Volunteers continue to play important roles in the Food Bank’s work and ability to respond to increased requests for assistance as a result of COVID-19. We are still hosting volunteers to sort and box donations and have taken the following precautions to help ensure staff and volunteers stay safe during their shifts:
- Having staff wear masks – VOLUNTEERS SHOULD BRING THEIR OWN FACE MASKS
- Insisting volunteers not come in if they are sick, have a fever, or have recently travelled
- Insisting volunteers age 70 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying illnesses NOT volunteer to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Matilda’s Law
- Reducing the number of people per shift
- Setting up volunteer work spaces to allow for 6-feet between people
- Having volunteers sanitize and glove their hands before each shift and change gloves as needed during shifts
- Stationing gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes in volunteer areas for frequent use
- Sanitizing high-touch points every two hours and at the end of each shift, including scales and touch-pads, tables, clipboards, pens, markers, sign-in consoles, door handles, broom handles, tape guns, and box cutters
Individuals interested in volunteering can learn more and sign up for shifts through the volunteer page of this website at https://foodbankofhudsonvalley.org/volunteer/. People with questions can contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Dexter Alston, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-534-5344, x102.
For Our Member Agencies
Food pantries and soup kitchens may find this suggestion helpful so they can continue to serve people in need of food: Consider having sick people, or those who are worried about becoming sick, ring the doorbell or call ahead instead of coming in. Agencies can then leave the food pantry package or takeout container of food for them at the door.
Update 4/10/20: Many school districts are continuing the provision of the National School Breakfast and School Lunch Program, along with delivery for those lacking transportation. Please refer to your district website or Facebook page for updates. We are continuing to work with school districts through our BackPack Program and will, whenever possible, provide expanded bags to families. We understand that families will be facing unusual financial difficulties as a result of this and our network of food pantries is here to assist with accessing food. Those in need can find a local food pantry, along with contact information and days and hours of operation, by accessing the Find Food feature on our website.
It is important to stay calm and make the right decisions and know there are definite steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before eating, after coughing/sneezing, and after using the restroom. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol may be used if not preparing food for others.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth. Wear a face mask when social distancing is not possible.
- Keep 6 feet between you and other people.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow; if not, wash hands immediately.
- Instead of shaking hands when meeting people, try the new “elbow bump.”
- If you have come into contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, frequently disinfect all hard surfaces with a solution of 1/3 cup regular chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of lukewarm water. (DO NOT use scented, low-splash or splash-less bleach.)
- Masks are not effective in protecting you from the virus, and should not be used by healthy individuals.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. It is especially dangerous to those who have underlying health issues.
- If you are sick, STAY HOME.
Get up-to-date information and recommendations from reputable sources such as Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int or New York State Department of Health at www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/.