COVID-19 Resources For Network Partners

The Vermont Foodbank has assembled and convened a cross-departmental COVID-19 Task Force. We have discussed the need to provide some more guidance and recommendations to the Foodbank’s network partner food shelves and meal sites. We are focusing on how we can meet the needs of people facing hunger in light of COVID-19. We are closely monitoring the situation, putting contingency plans in place, and planning for increased and shifting community needs.

Please note:Evolving guidance provided by the CDC and Vermont Department of Health will take precedent over the information provided here. We recommend monitoring these authoritative sources regularly.

General guidance/recommendations:

  • Consider putting preventative measures in place similar to those that Vermont Foodbank is putting in place. In addition, in the Resources section to the right, you will find a sample daily cleaning program that has been put in place by one of our sister food banks in Washington state.
  • If possible, install additional hand sanitizing stations at all entrances and throughout your facility. Make tissues boxes readily available. The best method for preventing contamination is hand-washing with soap for 20 seconds rinsing with hot water. Hand sanitizer stations should NOT be used in lieu of hand-washing. If you do not have access to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain 60%-95% alcohol can be used as an alternative, but soap and water is the first choice. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If you cough or sneeze, please cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw tissues away in trash baskets.
  • Consider posting the flyers provided by Vermont Department of Health (see Resources area) and also in the Resources section to the right you will find a flyer created by Boston Food Bank that you may consider posting to remind staff and visitors of personal hygiene practices.
  • Consider asking volunteers to confirm that they have neither traveled to impacted regions in the last 14 days nor are experiencing symptoms of illness. (If they have traveled to impacted areas, it is recommended that, out of an abundance of caution and food safety concerns, they not volunteer that day. They could volunteer after they are symptom free for 14 days since their return date.)
  • Consider suspending “sign-in” protocols so that multiple individuals are not sharing the same pen and paper. Assign a staff person or volunteer to writing down any necessary information that is needed from guests.
  • Put contingency plans or a continuity of operations plan (COOP) in place. See COOP template created for food banks in the Resources section. This could help you to act quickly in a rapidly changing environment.

For food shelves specifically:

  • Consider pre-bagging groceries, including produce and bread, for food shelf visitors.
  • For social distancing, consider asking households to only have 1 representative from each household line up for food to decrease the nu