Covid Changes Food Bank Operations

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How the food bank works.

Kira Abraham & Sophia Allen, Staff Reporters

March of 2020 a global pandemic started spreading wide and fast throughout the nation. The virus is called “Covid-19” and it has affected the nation in many ways. One of the ways that Covid-19 has affected our nation is by temporarily closing down our 20 food banks in Snohomish county. Food banks are a very important part of our community. Food banks help the people in the community that are in poverty to get the food they need to survive, and when the food bank was needed more than ever, it was shut down in order to make sure it operated safely. 

Our Arlington Food Bank opened back up shortly after the stay at home order was implemented. Due to the virus, food banks have experienced some loss of staff with some of the volunteers since the majority of volunteers are older. Prior to Covid the Arlington Food Bank had 200 volunteers, but ever since opening back up there are only 80-90 volunteers. To make things even harder, the Food Bank is limited on how many volunteers can be working at once. 

Volunteers are all wearing gloves and masks. They are expected to social distance. During the distributions, there is a specific pattern to avoid contamination–the carts come out and are taken to the cars for families to unload. The families then push the cart to the sanitation station before they are loaded up for the next family.

Along with opening back up the food banks came guidelines for Covid-19. The guidelines include sanitizing anything and everything before and after use, social distancing, and as I told you before there’s a max number of people working. They have to keep the food loose in a banana box because they can’t use plastic. Plastic, according to the WSDH (Washington State Department of Health) is very dangerous because it carries Covid, but the food does not. According to Carla Gastineau (director of Arlington Food Bank) the staff at Arlington Food Bank are “always busy” and “working hard”.

The reason there is a food bank in the first place is to help people who are in poverty and need the food as mentioned earlier. “Sixteen percent of Snohomish county is in poverty,” says Gastineau. Sixteen percent of Snohomish county is about  131, 533 people. “Reduce waste, feed hunger” says Gastineau.