To whom it may concern: March 16, 2020
In our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritizing the safety of our volunteers and guests, many of whom are very vulnerable to illnesses like this.
Sanitizer stations have been set up by the doors. We are making sure to keep our facility clean and sanitary. Volunteers who have health and immunity concerns have been asked to stay home and not come in to work. We have been continuing on with business as usual, but the closure of the schools has signalled that this is a situation we must take very seriously and so we have decided to take some more extreme measures.
We are going on a week by week basis. Taking the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx):
“To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Alberta has implemented new public health restrictions.
The following mass gatherings should be cancelled:
Events with more than 50 attendees that involve international participants, critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations…
Events that do not meet this criteria can proceed, but risk mitigation measures must be in place, such as providing sanitizer stations, enhanced cleaning protocols and distancing between attendees.”
Our gatherings always include vulnerable and elderly people, and often reach the threshold of fifty people. And due to the size of our space, social distancing measures will not be feasible.
In order to be responsible and proactive, we will be suspending our meals until further notice, and moving to appointment-only service for food hampers.
We will focus on supplying non-perishables, frozen meat, and toiletries to people who are being hit hard by this crisis. We are reverting back to pre-made food hampers for the short-term, to once again minimize contact and mitigate the spread of infection.
We recognize that this is a difficult time for those who are taking unplanned time off, or are forced to self-isolate. We anticipate that we may have to be flexible in meeting these needs. Food banks in affected areas have indicated a huge increase in demand as well as decreased supply. We trust that God will provide, but we must be wise and careful as our role in the community may be more necessary than ever.