The Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County wants our county residents to know that along with its sister Pennsylvania food banks, we are still operational, doing our very best to continue the normal (consistent) flow of food to our partner agencies. This means that at this time our pantries are remaining open to serve their clients howbeit they are changing their distribution procedures to practice social distancing for the health and well-being of their clients as well as their staff and volunteers. Any pantries that previously provided food by a “choice” system, meaning clients could basically shop for their supplemental food, will now be bagging/boxing food and either using a drive-thru method or allowing only one person at a time to pick up their food at the door.
Each of our member agencies have been given the recommendations and instructions (from the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and the PA Department of Health [DOH]) on how to take preventive steps to reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus. These steps include, among others, the following:
More frequent handwashing
Sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces
Assuring that any staff or volunteer that is feeling ill to stay home
At the food bank level, we are practicing the same precautionary steps over and above our normal rigorous food safety procedures. We are a small staff of 7 and we are working hard and long to keep operations running as consistently as possible. Volunteers are still being utilized (as it would be very difficult to continue to maintain our response without them!), however we are limiting the number of volunteers at one time for a particular task.
We are consulting with each school district to discuss plans/procedures to continue providing weekend meals to children through our Backpack Program during the school year. If you have questions about your school’s Backpack distribution, please contact your school’s district office.
Our Senior Food Box Program will continue as usual at this time, taking every precaution to keep the most vulnerable population safe.
Please know that this crisis will most likely cause financial instability on our residents who do not use the charitable food system, but who may need to turn to the food bank for help as they are not able to work. WE ARE HERE TO HELP! Please do not suffer in silence; reach out to us.
Finally, now more than ever, if you are able to help with your financial contributions, it would be the best way to support our critical work at this time. With a monetary gift we are able to have stronger buying power, as we buy in bulk, and can make your dollar stretch farther. Please consider donating today so that we can maintain our current service of providing food to our neighbors in need and those who may be seeking food assistance who now find themselves in need due to this crisis.
Help us continue to Starve Hunger~Feed Hope in Mercer County today!