Feeding Others During COVID19
What those operating pantries, providing meal services or community suppers can do
- Stay up to date on news specific to COVID-19 in Maine through the Maine CDC website
- In Maine, we can make use and share with clients the 2-1-1 hotline for answers to general questions
- Those with meal programs and community suppers should consider allowing friends/neighbors to pick up for homebound patrons and/or providing bagged meals for taking away, rather than sit-down meals, to reduce the amount of time guests have contact with one another and with volunteers/staff.
- All pantries and thrift shops and meal services must practice scrupulous sanitizing methods of all smooth surfaces and areas where people touch.
- Any volunteers should be healthy, low risk, wear gloves that are changed frequently, practice appropriate hygiene, and maintain physical (6 feet) distancing. If your volunteers are experiencing symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with an individual who experiences symptoms of this virus, they should refrain from volunteering for a period of 14 days.
- Patrons may need to send a friend or neighbor to your pantry or program for help. If you do not have a “proxy pick-up” system, you may want to consider making this available to community members who are sick or are advised to avoid public places due to an underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable. You can print menus or provide information over the phone in order to allow some customization of food boxes.
- For pantries with the ability, a safe parking lot, and volunteers to assemble pre-made boxes, you may want to consider a drive-through distribution system for the short-term where patrons can stay in their cars and food can be placed in their cars. This allows you to continue to serve community members but create some distance between volunteers and patrons and patrons from one another.
- Food pantries may also want to consider temporarily extending your hours and creating appointments in order to reduce the number of people at the pantry at any one time.
If your operations must cease, what those needing food assistance can do
- If you need food assistance, visit www.FeedingMaine.org and click “Get Help/Find Food” at the top. An interactive map will show places in Maine, operating hours and contact information.
- Clients in Maine can call 2-1-1 to locate resources.