Posted Tuesday March 24, 2020

Critical Need

Waterloo Region Food Bank Adjust Operations Amid COVID-19

Activates Pandemic Business Continuity Plan for Assistance Network

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 t o be offered i n 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 pro tecting 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 Netw ork – 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 dist ribution effective March 23, 2020 – including some hamper programs, community meals and s nack 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 acce ss 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 mos t vulnerable in our community during this time.”

There are 30 community programs and agency partners identified as v ital s ervice p rograms. These programs have implemented additional health and safety practices to reduce the risk of exposure to the communi ty and have additional capacity to support increased demand. To view the full list of Vital Service Programs, visit: .

“The Food Bank has made the decision to temporarily stop fulfilling orders to programs not identified as v ital s ervice p rogram s ,” said Campbell. “ This will affect 25% of the service currently delivered in the commun ity , 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 h ungry in our community during this time, visit - 19 - response to donate.

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