Food for Thought Blog

The Food Bank Adjusts Operations to Better Support Community during COVID-19

March 20th, 2020COVID-19, Media Releases

Kitchener, ON – March 19, 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region will be adjusting their operations and activating the Community Food Assistance Network Pandemic Business Continuity Plan, to ensure essential services continue to be offered in our community.

In collaboration with the Region of Waterloo Community Services and Public Health Department – this plan was designed to ensure local resources are mobilized to continue essential service delivery to our community while protecting the health and safety of staff, volunteers and community members.

“It is critical – during this unprecedented health crisis – that we adjust our operations to better serve our community and ensure business continuity of vital food assistance services throughout Waterloo Region,” explained Wendi Campbell, CEO, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. “With that in mind, we have made the decision to temporarily reduce the number of food distribution locations. This is an important step in not only ensuring emergency food is available for many weeks to come, but also in minimizing the health risks for staff, volunteers and community members.”

Currently, the Community Food Assistance Network – a system of 100+ community programs and agency partners – work together to ensure people in our community in need of food assistance, receive it. During the COVID-19 crisis, programs not identified as a vital service have been asked to stop food distribution effective March 23, 2020 – including some hamper programs, community meals and snack programs – in the interest of public health and safety.

“Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our community, while continuing to provide access to food and other vital supports to people who need it in Waterloo Region.” said Campbell “This is new territory for all of us and it is important we work together as a Network in a way that will reduce risks while supporting and serving some of the most vulnerable in our community during this time.”

There are 30 community programs and agency partners identified as vital service programs. These programs have implemented additional health and safety practices to reduce the risk of exposure to the community and have additional capacity to support increased demand. To view the full list of Vital Service Programs, visit: thefoodbank.ca/vitalservice.

“The Food Bank has made the decision to temporarily stop fulfilling orders to programs not identified as vital service programs,” said Campbell. “This will affect 25% of the service currently delivered in the community, service that the remaining programs have stepped up to accommodate. This allows us to focus our resources on the key programs and ensure we are confidently and safely meeting community needs during this time.”

Many people and families in Waterloo Region, who already have limited incomes, will feel the stress of time away from work, unexpected illnesses and being unable to purchase necessities to prepare their households for this evolving health crisis. If you would like to help ensure no one goes hungry in our community during this time, visit thefoodbank.ca/covid-19-response to donate.

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Contact:
Jennifer Judges
Communications Specialist
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
e: jenniferj@thefoodbank.ca
c: 519.574.5489

About The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Founded in 1984, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region was the first organization of its kind in Ontario, dedicated to providing emergency food. Thirty-five years after incorporation, The Food Bank continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community, ensuring no one goes hungry. As a leader of the Community Food Assistance Network, The Food Bank distributes more than 4.5 million pounds of fresh, frozen and non-perishable food to 100+ community programs and agency partners throughout Waterloo Region. The Food Bank is a registered charitable organization. Learn more at: thefoodbank.ca.

About the Community Food Assistance Network

The Community Food Assistance Network is a system of 100+ community programs and agency partners, providing food and connection to other vital supports needed by children, seniors, families and individuals in Waterloo Region. The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank are at the centre of the network, actively sourcing fresh, frozen and non-perishable food for distribution. Learn more at: foodassistancenetwork.com.