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KLFS Response to COVID-19

March 31, 2020

With growing concerns around COVID-19, the Kawartha Lakes Food Source would like to provide a summary of our response to date and our commitment to our community moving forward.

At this time, the Kawartha Lakes Food Source, as well as all 10 of our member food banks remain operational as an essential service. The month of March saw just under 1,500 individuals access food from food banks across the Kawartha Lakes. This is a 44% increase in individuals served compared to February.

The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and food bank visitors is of the utmost importance and we are following the lead of our local, provincial, and Canadian public health agencies during this important time.

We want to ensure the food banks across the City of Kawartha Lakes remain a safe environment.

 What the Kawartha Lakes Food Source is doing:

  • Continuing daily to monitor developments related to COVID-19 as well as local public health protocols and recommendations.
  • Regularly communicating with Feed Ontario, our provincial food banking representative, for ongoing updates.
  • Disseminating information to our 10 member food banks, as well as other community social service organizations which are not an official member of our services.
  • Staff and volunteers are required to practice effective handwashing and good respiratory hygiene. Sanitizers, soaps, gloves, and other items are made available to them. Regular cleaning protocols are in place to ensure a clean and hygienic workplace – with extra attention being paid to surfaces which may have been handled by a member of the public.
  • Donated items are either sanitized prior to being redistributed to the community, or they are set aside for a minimum of 7 days before being handled and redistributed.
  • All vulnerable volunteers, including those over the age of 60, or those with pre-existing medical conditions, have been asked to stay home.
  • Only two of our staff members are working at the distribution centre at one time. The remainder of our distribution centre team is working from home.
  • Our Kawartha Lakes Food Source distribution centre is closed to the public at this time, and food banks are scheduled to pick up supplies one day each week in order to minimize traffic around our building.
  • We have made formal requests to all local elected representatives to relieve the pressure currently being put on food banks by providing immediate financial aid to social assistance recipients, as well as creating a stabilization fund to provide support to non-profits, such as food banks, which are currently providing front line supports during this unexpected pandemic.

 What our member food banks are doing:

As mentioned, the Kawartha Lakes Food Source has 10 member food banks across the City of Kawartha Lakes. These food banks each are comprised of their own leadership teams. Each of them also operates out of very different spaces. These factors may change the way in which they choose to alter services in response to COVID-19. However, across all food banks, the following changes have been made.

  • All food banks have moved to an appointment only model, in order to minimize the number of individuals in and around the food banks at any given time. Many food banks are having clients wait outside of the building while they retrieve their food and essentials.
  • Food banks have changed from a shopping model to a hamper model to minimize time spent at the food bank, and the number of items being handled.
  • When items are being given to clients, they are being set out in bags or boxes by food bank volunteers. After the volunteer has stepped 2 meters away from the items, the client retrieves their items.
  • Donated items are either sanitized prior to being redistributed to the community, or they are set aside for a minimum of 7 days before being handled and redistributed.
  • Regular cleaning protocols are in place to ensure a clean and hygienic workplace – with extra attention being paid to surfaces the public come in contact with.

Please know that the Kawartha Lakes Food Source, and our member food banks, are doing their part to ensure the community remains safe and healthy, while continuing to provide essential services to those in need. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide ongoing updates to the community as needed. We encourage you to follow us closely on Facebook for any and all updates about changes to food bank operations that may affect members of our community.

 How you can help:

Now, more than ever, food banks in our community need your support.

  • At this time, online financial donations are a preferred donation method as it is completely contactless and risk free. To make an online financial donation, go to kawarthalakesfoodsource.com and click “donate now”.
  • You may also mail in cheque or cash donations to the Kawartha Lakes Food Source at Box 123, Lindsay, ON, K9V 4R8.
  • Donation barrels are located at Loblaws, Food Basics, and Valu-Mart in Lindsay. If you are already making a trip to the grocery store, please consider bringing donations with you to the store, or perhaps pick up some items to donate when you shop.

We recognize that having the ability to donate financially or physically is a privilege. If you are not in a position to give at this time, but would like to offer your support, consider taking time to spread the word about the Kawartha Lakes Food Source and our current need. Like us on Facebook and share our posts. When COVID-19 is no longer a threat, reach out to us to learn about how you can get involved.  

If you have further questions about donating, you can reach us at 705-324-0707.

Thank you for your continued support of the Kawartha Lakes Food Source.

Sincerely,

Heather, Derrick, Jessica, Kate D, Bill and Kate F.