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Second Harvest Food Bank Monitoring Developments of COVID-19

By March 10, 2020 No Comments

Second Harvest Food Bank is carefully monitoring developments with regards to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are committed to our mission of working together to end hunger through healthy food, education and leadership and ensuring the health and well-being of our staff, community participants and the larger county.

We take our role as one of the county’s first responders in the event of a disaster very seriously. We are currently working to minimize risk of exposure to staff and the facility to protect the food chain and ensure continuity of services.

At this time, Second Harvest is following CDC guidelines as well as the advice from Feeding America in how to prepare for the potential spread of this virus.  We are working to ensure resiliency in our organization and continuation of services in the event of a county-wide outbreak.  We are currently:

  • Participating in weekly disaster planning calls with Santa Cruz County officials
  • Reviewing our staffing levels to ensure continuity of services
  • Implementing CDC isolation and sanitation practices internally and promoting them with our partner agencies
  • Developing contingency plans with our community partners to ensure they have sufficient capacity and knowledge to continue operations
  • Rescheduling events planned in our warehouse

Second Harvest follows strict food safety guidelines established by the American Institute of Baking (AIB).  Staff are trained on safe food handling practices and we complete a third party audit to ensure compliance with established standards annually.  The food distributed by Second Harvest is safe. “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food,” according to the CDC.

Second Harvest takes the health of our employees and the community members we serve seriously.  We ask that any volunteers who are feeling unwell do not come in until they are healthy. We provide generous PTO to ensure that if a staff member is not feeling well, they have the sick time needed in order to stay home rather than come to work because of pressure to not lose the day’s wages. All staff and volunteers are encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.

We understand our role as one of the safety net services of our community and will take all practical precautions to prevent and if necessary, address the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Questions or concerns? Please contact suzanne@thefoodbank.org

Bryn
Author: Bryn