With growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus locally and abroad, The Burlington Food Bank has had to consider a range of actions to respond in the best interests of our clients, volunteers and staff. Our considerations were grounded in the following guiding principles:
- Safeguard the health our clients, volunteers and staff.
- Continue as best we can to meet the needs of our clients for food supplies.
- Contribute to the broader efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
We have already established a number of safeguards, including:
- Hand sanitizer areas, including in front desk, volunteer areas and hand washing in our washrooms
- Sanitizer wipes for all shopping buggies
- Enhanced cleaning processes throughout the building
- Posters about hand washing and flu prevention
- Encouraged people to stay home if they are sick.
As cases of COVID-19 have begun to increase, and in light of developments all around us, The Burlington Food Bank has had to make some difficult decisions to significantly alter the way we operate. The measures outlined below will be in place temporarily, effective Friday, March 20, 2020 for an initial period until April 17, 2020.
The Food Bank will shift to a “hamper model”. While we have always cherished the food choices our clients have enjoyed in our Food Bank, this cannot continue at this time. Instead, our volunteers will prepare hampers containing a variety of balanced food supplies. There will be limited options available to address specific needs, such as diapers, baby food and personal hygiene products. Bread choices will be available to all clients.
The Burlington Food Bank schedule will be unchanged, but no clients will be allowed in the Food Bank at any time. We have all been encouraged to practice safe “social distancing”, so we must limit who is in the Food Bank at all times. Hampers of food will be ready to go for all clients as they arrive at The Burlington Food Bank. Clients will arrive, sign-in with the front desk, obtain their food hamper, complete their limited choices for options, select their bread choices, and depart. Intake updates will be suspended, except for clients new to The Burlington Food Bank.
For each visit to The Burlington Food Bank, all clients and volunteers must answer NO to the following mandatory health screening questions:
- Have you had a cough, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, fever, malaise or aches within the last 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?
- Have you had close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness or fever in the last 14 days?
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with a person who has traveled outside of Canada within the last 14 days?
Clients who cannot comply with these health screening questions should contact The Burlington Food Bank (905)-637-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try our best to get a hamper of food to you.
We will be revisiting these measures throughout this initial suspension period and will make changes as required to better meet the needs of our clients, consistent with our guiding principles set out above.